Bears, Bears, & More Bears

On the day before the celebration known as Canada Day, we were in Jasper NP.  We left our accommodations very early that morning and decided to explore more of the area.  The first on our list was to travel the Maligne Road, on our way to Maligne Lake.

Before we even got out of the Jasper township, we spotted a few dozen elk, including males and females, as well as some young ones.  Of course, though we had seen more than our fair share of elk already, I just had to stop.


Noticing that one calf was actively nursing on its mom, and not wanted to spoil that moment for them, I had to settle for not the most clear shot of the action.  What I had never noticed before was that this calf would nurse for a bit, then lower its head a bit, then ram it back into the moms chest, as to get the milk better.  It was the weirdest thing ever to me and I wondered what the mom thought about that!


As soon as we began the Maligne Road drive, we almost immediately realized that we were on “bear highway”, as we encountered LOTS of black bears along our way.



Some were alone, while others had cubs with them.  What a face this innocent little one gave us, as I began clicking away with my camera.



I remember thinking what a good mom this sow was, as on-lookers were starting to infringe on her space, but she remained close to her cub, as she did her best to be tolerant of the audience.


Before long, we realized that there were actually two cubs!  Of course, with that change in events, it seemed to double the excitement of the crowd as well.


It was all that I could do to keep quiet and not reprimand the spectators that just had to get closer … I mean, it was a black bear and two spring cubs and these people were clearly not far enough away, but anyone’s standards.  To make it worse, when one person would get closer, someone else had to get even closer!  I started trying to explain to people that they were endangering themselves and everyone else, but most didn’t seem to care.  My only “friend” out there, echoing my sentiments, was a guy from Australia.  Somehow, being a man, a few additional people listened to him, but even he was challenged by the crowd.


Of course, the crowd’s over zealous need for closeness, made the bear retreat and ended up ruining it for everyone.  I just don’t understand people!


I had to smile at how these two little cubs promptly followed their mama deeper into the woods.  Funny how these bears had more sense than most humans.  🙂


Of course, we witness other wildlife sightings along the way, like a herd of elk sunning themselves along the creek.  This particular elk had just gotten up and headed towards the water and readied to cross it to the other side.  Why? you ask … well because tourists walked down the embankment and wanted to get close to it – for a snapshot, of course.  Wonder if these people would do the same in Africa?  I shudder to ponder that question too long for fear of the answer.  ;-0


The skies were dark and dreary and were threatening rain or were actively raining most of the day, so though we took some traditional images of the Maligne Lake, etc, I wasn’t pleased with them, so I elected to not include them in the blog.  However, I did want to show off an image, one of many, of the amazing glacier views we were treated to during the day.


One more black bear sighting to share with everyone … this one for a particular reason.  See, after getting tired of crowds gathering when we would sight wildlife, we decided to try to keep this a bit to ourselves.


Now mind you, we did spot it not far off the roadside grazing on the grasses, but it was around a bend in the road.  So, if you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t most likely see it.  When a car would approach, we would pull in the lens and grab a map … you know, like we were simply getting oriented to where we were.


Our plan worked for a while, but eventually this black bear got bored with the right side of the road and decided to cross the road.


Problem was that no one could see it until it could have been too late.  I was torn with how to handle the situation, so I began to flail my lens, arms, and whatever else I could grab, out the window to try to alert oncoming traffic.  Thankfully, traffic was light, our planned work, and the bear eventually made it across the road safely.  I did learn a lesson … for the safety of the wildlife around, when you pull over, flashers on please!


More to come from the Lake Louise area in the next blog post … stay tuned!

© Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography



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