Sunday, August 11, 2019

Kananaskis Drive & Bearmageddon August 11, 2019

The orange part of my story below is a copy of what I placed on my Facebook Page.  That part of my day turned out being the highlight and not the moody cloudy photography opportunities which were my main intention to capture.  I have shared some of those photos below.   

What a morning!  I went for an early morning drive out Highway 40 with hopes of seeing some peaks peeking through the clouds and with any luck maybe have a bear sighting.  Well, watch what you wish for!  Five separate bear sightings in just under 2 hours, three of them within about 8 minutes, oh my nerves oh my heart!  They were all from the safety of my car.  I have not one single photo even though my camera was sitting on my lap ready to snap shots at a split second.  It was crazy and I am still thinking did all that really happen.  The first I saw  was a big grizzly on the side of the road where I saw a Warden twice a few weeks ago guarding the area.  The second was a black bear further down on the other side just going into the bushes.  For both of these, I slowly drove by and admired them not wanting to create a bear jam.  The next three were all down at the Canyon Day Use Area.  After viewing the Lake from the parking lot, I drove to the end of the lot and very slowly began to make a left onto the winding road because it is kind of a blind corner.  Down the road bolting straight towards me came the biggest baddest collared grizzly.  I slammed my brakes on, rolled my window up, and then came the Warden with his lights flashing.  I quickly backed up to make room for both the bear and the truck.  I wanted out of the way.  I could not see the bear now and the Warden put his hand up telling me to stop, I assumed the grizzly was behind my car, the Warden drove to my side and then the bear came out from the other side, the Warden sped around my car and then took off chasing the bear to the Upper lot.  At this point I took off driving in the other direction out of the lot, around the corner and headed up the road when a raggedy looking black bear jumped out of the bushes in front of me, I slammed on my brakes and it did an about turn and ran back into the bushes.  I gathered my nerves, took a couple of deep breaths and began to drive away.  In a matter of less than a minute, I went around another corner and there was another Warden a bit sideways on the road with the trucks lights flashing, his window was down and his hand was out banging on the side of the track.  He put his hand up telling me to stop.  I then saw another grizzly on the road.  This one was not as big and as bad looking. The grizzly began to come closer and the Warden banged the side of his truck again and the bear took off into the meadow then into the forest.  The Warden waved me on and when I pulled up by him he said they are all coming out of the woods.  Trying to capture photos was the furthest thing from my mind.  By now I had enough, more than I bargained for and I just wanted to get home.  Now I need a nap!

Life begins at Highway 40 as you enter Kananaskis Country!
I have been curious about the improvements made at the Barrier Lake Day Use Area.  I dropped in to check them out and I was impressed.  This is one of the new outhouse locations with part of the new parking lot off to the right.  There is a new kiosk here also but nothing is posted on it yet.  As I entered the area there was a "bear in area" warning sign.
part of the new parking lot
I carried on down highway 40 and saw numerous "bear in area" warning signs and closures.  
I also saw peaks peeking out which was what I was hoping for. 
It was still early and I was ready for a drink.  
The drink above that I was talking about was a cup of tea. The above sign is new to me to see at Wedge Pond.  I took my tea to the bench to sip while I watched the clouds dance about.  It was peaceful here and I took many minutes to enjoy that.
a bowl full of clouds
Further on down the road some blue came out but it did not last long. 

I drove up to the Highwood Pass half expecting to see flurries but there were none to be seen.  It felt cold enough that the drizzle should be flurries.  On the way back I drove down to see the Upper Kananaskis Lake but this morning I was not motivated to stick around, it wasn't pretty enough.  On the way there I bypassed the turnoff for the Lower Lake and the Canyon Day Use Area.  But upon the return drive, I wasn't ready to leave it all behind so veered off down to the Canyon Day Use Lot.  There were no "bear in area" warning signs here.  I had a look at the lake, a quick moment in the bush then hopped in my car to head on my way.  It was at this point that my day turned exciting!


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