The Bear Necessities
Banff National Park, Alberta
We all had cuddly teddy bears as youngsters that helped us get to sleep. We have all watched nature shows in which the truth about the potential extinction of grizzly bears has made itself known to us. However, take this from a man who has had more run ins with grizzlies in Banff National Park than he would like to admit, they are bloody dangerous!
If you are not experienced with hiking in bear territory, it is so important to educate yourself before your trip. Remembering even some of these tips can one day save your life. If this day does come, please send all ‘Thankyou Mountain Man Presents” to the Address below!
- Learn the words to ´Bohemian Rhapsody‘ and sing it as loud as you can while hiking. It’s not that bears hate Queen (not that I know of) but your screeching voice will be unfamiliar to the Grizzly and he will clear away from your path.
- Remember what your mother told you – always clean up after yourself. Hang your tasty goods from bear cables or a firm tree or leave them in your car. Leaving open cans of food and drink around is the equivalent of swimming with sharks. Fun but just plain silly.
- Keep your eyes wide open. With the exhausting exercise, stunning scenery and annoying guy ahead of you singing Bohemian Rhapsody, it is easy to get distracted. Anything big, brown or black and moving should be acknowledged.
- Leave the Pets at home. Fido might love a good hike around the Rockies but animals attract animals and in the wild it’s unfortunately not like in the cartoons. There won’t be any tails wagging if they do meet.
- Don’t panic. It’s easy to say from here but remember they are not too different to us, just hairier. If they are on their hind legs, they are just smelling you. If they are beginning to act aggressively, they are protecting something (either cubs or food) so back away slowly. If they run after you, they are much faster than you so try and climb up a tree while singing Queen.