Sharon Hawley has finished her bicycle trip in Canada for this summer. She hopes to complete the adventure in another year. Please follow her winter adventure at http://sharonswinter.blogspot.com/
Monday, June 1, 2009
I started early for the long trek to Valemount. I knew the ninety kilometers would be without any businesses, not even a store. And near the solstice in this northland, you can start at four and have enough light to ride. I started at five-thirty, following the North Thompson River, my companion these last four days. Today I would reach its headwaters and leave it to branch and gather the remaining snowmelt of summer, and provide a path for the salmon to come into these mountains all the way from the ocean to spawn in August.
Ever since that eye-staring encounter with a black bear two days ago, every dark spot in the forest is a bear; every sound from the trees is a bear paw crushing a branch. I can’t tell whether I am being watched or whether my senses are merely elevated beyond logic. So when I saw it brown and tall in the road ahead, standing still in the early morning before any cars or trucks had emerged, my first thought was “grizzly” because they are usually brown. I looked for a round hump between its shoulder blades as further grizzly verification. But it was too far away.
Most animals show themselves sparingly, but the grizzly is six to eight hundred pounds of smugness. It has no need to hide. If it were a person it would laugh loudly in quiet restaurants, wear the wrong clothes for formal occasions, and slap anyone who stands up to it. But all this is based on book knowledge and stories from Canadian pubs. I had never seen a grizzly.
The animal turned its side to me, and now I could see the long legs and neck—moose. I kept riding toward it; I would have to get closer, this time with the camera ready. But I missed my chance when the moose saw a strange thing approaching it. Yes, I am a strange-looking beast on the highway, an odd creature, not well understood by the local fauna.
Still, the mountains hit me with stunning magnificence. I want to photograph every glint of sunlight in the trembling aspens, every rill of new snowmelt adding to the river, and every snowpacked jag that points its rocky tip into thin air. Here are a few, but none of them match the immersion I feel in this wonderful wilderness.
Posted by Sharon
- ▼ June (13)