2011-06-25 | King Creek Ridge (Kananaskis, AB) | 2450m | 9km | 752m gain
Super Saturday with some super views but the highlights were of the Ursus arctos variety. The first was at some distance across the valley of a Grizzly mother and at least one cub. Probably in the range of a km away on a grassy slope. Binos confirmed the ID and a loud "Yo Bear!" from me garnered a look up before going back to feeding.
The second was much closer. We dropped packs and ate an early lunch on the first summit before crossing to the high point across a short saddle. I took my camera & binos leaving my pack behind and ran across so I could get a shot of Peter on the first summit. As Peter came across he saw something that caught his attention on a lower terrace of the ridge. I heard him calling "Yo Bear" but when he eventually joined me he didn't mention it. On the way back he pointed "What is that". I had my binos and immediately confirmed it was a bear although it looked a bit weird the way it was laying. This turned out to be because she had two cubs nestled in around her belly. Even though there was at least 200m separating us I had a flood of thoughts "How did she get there, are we on her exit route?" "Good job leaving the bear spray with my pack on the summit (a short but far enough ways away" and lastly "I hope we don't disturb her".
I think she was aware of our presence, the wind was going her way and she surely heard Peter's call but she seemed unconcerned and dozed a while while we watched. Eventually the cubs began to stir then they all rose leisurely stretched and then after testing the wind and listening for a few minutes they exited their little terrace down a steep slope and out of sight. The whole thing felt very short but we watched for at least 20 minutes before they departed. Very cool.
In terms of a route we did not traverse far enough on the ascent for the 'new' trail but this worked out ok as we got earlier views up the valley (and would have missed the first bear). Took the trail back down, it is fairly distict if you traverse northish far enough.
© Clayton Ditzler