Jasper in June (Part 15) – Signs of (Wild)life

There were points along each of our 4 hikes, where we had the feeling that something was in the bush, watching us pass and at times it was a bit unnerving. Oh sure, we had our bear spray, but you still do not want to surprise any animal as you are out walking.

We were sure to make noise as we walked. I whistled and talked and from time to time, my Patty would give the Bob and Doug McKenzie “hoser” cheer, “Coo roo coo coo, coo coo coo coo”. All being said, we never encountered a visible dangerous animal, so I’m gonna say my Patty kept us safe.

However, on our 3rd day of hiking (Overlander Trail West), we were about half way back to the car, when we stopped, because we could hear some branches snapping. Nervously, Patty let out the “hoser” cheer and the answer back was a low growl. We looked at each other, as if to say, “Did you hear that?” We then began a hasty retreat away from the area, Pat keeps reminding me that I was faster, I was gone before she could start to move and oh, yeah, I had the bear spray. We had seen the notice that a fox was in the area and was approaching humans, so thought we may have been close to its den. Googling growls later, it sounded more like a coyote than a fox. But, who knows, coulda been my stomach.

Still, in all, we saw plenty of signs that animals were around.

Possible signs of a bear scratching around close to bottom of Wilcox Pass Trail
a beautiful web trap from a less harmless predator

either signs of numerous rodent burrows or of the passage of hoofed animals in forest vegetation on Overlander Trail East

a small rock cave that may not have been occupied, but might make a good home for someone

This next slideshow is the scat we saw along the trail. We believe at least the first two of these were bear and the smaller white example is likely from a coyote or fox that tends to eat small animals whole. The fur passes through the digestive tract. Sorry about all this shit.

We did finally see a bear, long after we left Jasper National Park. As we were driving along 16 East, we saw this black shape running across the road and wondered what kind of dog it was, before realizing it was a black bear. At the speed he was moving to avoid the speeding cars, we would not want to encounter him on a trail.

14 thoughts on “Jasper in June (Part 15) – Signs of (Wild)life

    1. I recommend it, but obviously the coyotes are disturbed by it. On the other hand, maybe it was simply another hiker playing a prank on us. Coo roo coo coo, coo coo coo coo. Take Off Eh? Tanks for reading and understanding this Canadianism. Cheers. Allan

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I think it’s both exciting and nerve wracking to go on a hike and knowing that you might run into a bear! I guess it’s always a good idea to learn about wildlife in each park. I don’t even know how to use bear spray, did you ever had a close encounter with wildlife? Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

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    1. Yes, you want the thrill of seeing a bear, but not the angst of having the bear see you first. The only close bear call we had was a bear sighting as we hiked out of our 3 day back country hike a year ago. We saw three bears crossing our path well ahead of our position. We watched them go and they seemed more nervous than we were. My wife calls the bear spray, her can of naivety, as you think you are safe, but you have no proof. Can you get the bearspray out in time, will it work, will you have it pointed right, will it stop the bear. I never want to find out. Our closets call with a big animal was in Elk Island Park, when we found a bison blocking our path. These animals are quite near sighted and easily provoked to charge. They bink like a rabbit, weight 2,000 pounds and can reach speeds of 35 mph. We stood our ground while Patty Googled what to do. It said singing may work, so I started a rousing chorus of Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight. The bison turned around in disdain and binked off down the trail. Hah. Critic. Thanks for reading Aiva. Allan

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      1. I would never want to find out either. Well, I’d say it’s always best to bring your binoculars and see the wildlife from a safe distance, especially the bison! Thanks for sharing your experience 😊

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      2. She googled what to do? That’s kind of funny actually. I would never have got the fingers to work! We have had a close bear encounter but we saw it and halted and off momma and the Cubs ambled.

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      3. We actually rescued a single jogger on the path. She saw the bison first and did not know what to do, so the University of Google was queried. It worked great. Thanks for reading Bernie. Allan


  2. This fear of encountering a dangerous animal never leaves me in Canada and has caused me to give up many hikes until I see that there are enough people around to keep the unwanted beast away. This fear does not exist in Europe, where the only hazard is trespassing on private property unintentionally or out of necessity. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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    1. The 1st motto is “Hike in a group” and the 2nd motto is, “Never be the oldest or the slowest in that group”. Ha Ha. The real key is to keep making noise so you do not sneak up on wildlife. There are likely some places in Europe where you could be charged by a stag, but it is less likely than an elk attack in Canada during the rut. Thanks for reading and commenting. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It would have been scarier during berry season. That is when the bears are on the same paths as the hikers. I think you are also a brave person, given all you are accomplishing and dealing with. Thanks for reading, Susie and stay well. Allan


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