Friday, 12 June 2015

Mischievous Bears

Unless you are in the top of Australia (think estuarine crocodiles as the freshies are harmless!), we normally never have to worry about walking into something that might potentially eat us. Here in North America they have cougar (probably my biggest fear) and bears. We also watch out here for snakes (rattlers in the desert), bison, elk and moose as they can kill you too. This week we really had to watch all around us in case a bear just appeared behind us.

Be careful when you come out of the restroom!

As you can see we finally got to see the sow and cubs. We had been looking for them ever since we arrived, but no show until this day. These cubs are a lot bigger than the ones we saw last year, it just goes to show that if it is a mild winter they can start eating sooner, and get bigger quicker.

Mum sent the cubs up the tree for safety

Cathy spotted some movement in the forest up near the Cameron Lake carpark. There was a mating pair in there, a cinnamon sow and a black boar. Now we know what bears do in the woods! When they had finished - it's very brief, the boar walked along the footpath and the sow went into the Visitor information centre. We could hear her banging around, I'm not sure if she was checking out the exhibits or trying to get out the floor to ceiling glass windows!

As I mentioned in my last post, all black bears climb trees - young and old. They love the seeds that are just beginning to sprout at the top of the Western Poplars. I often forget to look up when we are searching for bears. They are well camouflaged behind the leaves and can be difficult to see. This was the mum from last year, she was tearing off branches, absolutely massacring the poor tree. She tried to bring one of the branches down but it got stuck in the fork of another branch.

look how high they climb
we recognise this bear by her white face
While we were looking at the bear up the tree, troublesome bear came around and got into the tray of our truck and then into Kyle's. Then another large bear came down the trail, you really had to watch what was behind you.

For some reason Cameron Falls isn't anywhere near Cameron Lake, it's about a five minute walk from our campground. The water noise we can hear at our campsite is actually the water flowing over rocks in Cameron Creek that extends from the falls and runs behind our campsite out into the bay.

Cameron Falls
We normally don't take photographs of big horn sheep here as they are shedding their winter coat and look a bit scraggly. But there was a huge black bear boar walking down the road towards two of them, so we stopped to see what they would do - they ran up the cliff! On our last day when we were driving up the parkway for a hike up Rowe Creek, and we saw tiny three lambs but you'll just have to take my word for it because we hadn't brought our cameras as we didn't want to leave them in the truck.

Big horn sheep

The other wildlife here apart from squirrels and snowshoe hares are deer. They are so funny to watch, they don't run, they hop with all four legs at the same time.

Prancing dancer

There are lots of hiking trails here, eleven are less than 6kms return (my kind of walk), and sixteen between three hours and three days, anything less than three kilometres is easy, then you have moderate (uphill!) and difficult - more than five hours and steep. On our last day we went up the Rowe Creek trail for 3/4 of an hour and turned around. It was uphill all the way and we thought we were doing okay, when a fit young thing passed us and within a few minutes she was out of sight!

Lower Bertha Falls - 5.2kms more if you walk from the campground!
Not all the wildflowers along the trails are out yet, but many were and they are really pretty. They call Waterton the wildflower capital of Canada and there is a wildflower festival on at the moment. We've ordered a macro lens for my birthday next week, taking flowers with a normal lens just doesn't do them justice.  I took a few photos with Cathy's macro lens while they were here. There wasn't much variety to shoot where we were but it was enough to convince me that I needed one of those lenses! Flower shots here will have to wait for another time.

We made a few runs up Red Rock Parkway. The first time we saw six bears, but nothing on the subsequent trips. Akamina is still our favourite run.

Related Posts:
2015 Waterton Lakes Part-1 - The Year of the Cinnamons
2015 Townsite Campground Review
2014 Waterton Lakes Part-1
2014 Waterton Lakes Part-2

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