Smart Happy Bear

Canadian Rockies
July ’72

Protected by nothing but our nylon tent, we hoped the bear would find
his gourmet meal totally satisfying. Inside our tent we heard him
slamming around pots and pans. After what seemed way too long, the
bear finally climbed out of the truck and walked right between the
truck and our tent. We sat motionless and quiet. After a few minutes,
I got brave and stuck my head out of the tent to see if the bear was
still around. Apparently he had taken a rest break because I watched
him approach the truck one more time. This time he was too full to
jump. Instead, he unlatched the tailgate and hopped back in the truck
for his second course. Using our backpacks for a seat, he proceeded to
finish his meal. Finally, when he lumbered down from the truck, he
stopped and took a long drink of water from the soaking bean pan. When
he walked away from our campsite, he was one happy fellow.

I was still a bit apprehensive, but I wasn’t going to wait for him to
come back for thirds. I crawled out of the tent and over to the cab of
the truck. I quickly opened the door and climbed inside. The bear was
nowhere to be seen. I started up the truck, and drove it down the
road. If the bear came back this time, at least he wouldn’t disturb
our sleep again.

In the morning we surveyed the damage. It was considerable. The bear
broke the latch on the tailgate. There was garbage (that’s what’s left
after dinner, right?) all over the bed of the truck. The remnants of
bear smell were putrefying. And, to add insult to injury, the bear had
left his saliva all over our backpacks. It was not a pretty sight. It
took the whole morning to clean up.

On the bright side, it was another nice day. The highway to Jasper was
constructed through a natural north/south pass cutting through the Canadian Rockies. Both sides of the highway featured spectacular views of the
11,000 to 12,000-foot mountains. This was one of the most beautiful
highways I had ever traveled, but it would have been even nicer if I were
riding my bicycle (no offense Old Smoke).

In Jasper (more a city; less a tourist town than Banff) we restocked
groceries and then went to a park for a picnic. The next day we were
off to Prince George, the “gateway to the real north.” As soon as we
left Jasper, the mountains shrunk to large foothills.

In Prince George, after getting a campsite and taking a shower,
we immediately went for pizza and beer. Not only was our meal
great, but the guitar player who was there to serenade us, was
great too. The next day we extended our R&R by taking in a movie.
The benefit concert, Bangladesh, was playing in the theaters;
so, once inside, we got to see up on the screen, George, Bob, Eric
and a whole bunch of other great musicians. Nice!


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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6 Responses to Smart Happy Bear

  1. frizztext says:

    I am surprised about
    Not only was our meal great,
    but the guitar player who was there to serenade us,
    was great too.
    George Harrison in the wilderness of Canada, wonderful

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Great musical talent becomes even greater when played by Canadians in Canada, and, as you say, the George Harrison movie concert was a special added attraction/treat.

  2. hugmamma says:

    I’m deathly afraid of bears, having nearly come face to face with a huge black one on the grounds of the Banff Centre for the Arts. I’m fascinated by these wild creatures, but having grown up on Maui, bears aren’t within my realm of comprehension.

    My daughter spent her first summer away from home, dancing in Banff for 5 weeks. Since she was only 15, I escorted her there, first flying to Calgary, then busing to Banff. As we approached the magnificent vistas that surround the preserve, including the Rockies, I knew my daughter would be safely ensconced among the wildlife, including the human kind.

    We’ve since returned to Banff a couple more times, staying at the Banff Springs Hotel. Being in the travel industry, my husband was able to secure us great rates. We’re not hardy souls like you, camping not being high on our list, especially in view of my chronic aches and pains. I congratulate you on being hail and hardy.

    Unfortunately we never made it to Jasper. We only traveled as far as Lake Louise. Perhaps we’ll have to take a final trip back. Being a native Hawaiian, my island home will always be Paradise, but Banff and its environs run a close second.

    Mahalo for reminding me about the beautiful Canadian Rockies, a definite gift from God.

    hugs for sharing…hugmamma. 🙂 (and thanks for “liking” my roadtrip post)

  3. bwinwnbwi says:

    Sounds like you’ve enjoyed a few good roadtrips to Banff. Nice! Blackbears, for the most part, are just looking for tablescrapes, but they can be scary up close. It’s the humans who ought to be caged up for inviting the bears into camp by being poor housekeepers. I was young back then; now I’m full of aches and pains myself, but it’s still fun for me to post these youthful experiences. I envy you for being a native Hawaiian. Soon, probably in a couple weeks, I’ll be posting my Hawaiian roadtrip. I spent the better part of a year on Oahu (one month on Kauai) camping on the beaches. I loved Hawaii, but living on Keaau beach, just up the road from Makaha, had its ups and downs making for some (hopefully) interesting future blog posts. Mahalo for reminding me about the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, a definite gift from God.

  4. eof737 says:

    Just out of curiosity, what exactly did he eat in your truck…? 🙂

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      I can’t remember what we stocked for supplies. However, pancake flour, fruits, bread, taters, stuff from the cooler (not much meat, maybe hot dogs) etc., he chowed down on.

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