Sunday, September 25, 2011

Giant Squirrles in Whistler, B.C.

Whistler Village
Last Weekend: Whistler. John, Huey, Josh, and Jenine. My super-cool cruiser-bike, no downhilling this time, and no mud, just sunshine and blue skies. Monday morning I trotted down to the information booth in the village to ask for what I've been looking for since last summer when I got the bike - a long, flat, paved, scenic trail. I got exactly that. Through the woods, to a park, by the river, behind the golf course, across the boardwalk, under the bridge, past the seaplanes... and so it went, spectacularly, along part of the Valley Trail loop for about 7 miles (I think).

Although it did not start well. Ten minutes into my ride I stopped to adjust my bike basket which was hitting my brake cable when I heard a snuffling in the bushes near me. Huh, I thought, is someone in the bushes? Didn't think so. Continued fiddling with my basket while wondering if a bird flapping around could make that much ruckus. Didn't think so. Just as I was wondering if it could be a bear, a bear walked out of the woods and onto the trail. Panic almost tied with my instinct to reach for my camera but panic won. I decided to peddle off in the other direction but then wondered if, a) one is not supposed to turn one's back on a bear, b) it was lumbering after me in an attempt to knock me to the ground, rip off a limb, maul me mercilessly, and ride off on my bike. I decided to turn around to see what was going on and it was standing in the path, dead-center, staring right at me, definitely coveting my bike. I'm still annoyed that I was too shakey to immediately get my camera. The bear eventually wandered across the street and into the bushes on the other
giant squirrel
side. However, I was paralyzed in my spot and didn't want to cross by the place where it came out of the brush (much like a superstitious sort wouldn't cross the path of a black cat; I'm not afraid of cats of any color, but it made perfect sense at the time to not cross the bear-path). So I just stood there with my bike, seriously considering going back to my room to spend the afternoon watching TV. Luckily (as it was a beautiful day), I saw a gentleman coming up the trail toward me. When he got to the spot where I was rendered imobile, I said hello and asked if he knew this particular trail well; he said he did, so I asked if I should be particularly freaked out that a bear had just come out of the woods a mere twenty feet from me. He laughed and said "absolutely not, they're like giant squirrels around here!" He said he'd been walking on that trail for twenty years and that the bears don't bother anyone. "You don't have any raw meat on you, do you?" he asked; luckily, I did not, so I thanked him for his reassurance and peddled on. Great ride; I did it again sans bear the next day with Jenine.

All the photos below (except the last one) are from the bike trail loop.
maybe next time