High on that list of 'things I love' is biking with Bet. I love biking and I love spending time with Bet, so combining the two is sublime for me!!!
I did have a few appointments and errands that had to be done, so didn't have time to head into the city or anywhere 'fancy' - so we just biked around home - which is 100% fine with me. The Tawatinaw River valley is something else I dearly love.
|Bet and my bike along the banks of the Tawatinaw River valley|
and twisted and wound up and down the dog trails and a few game trails heading in an indirect way to the river.
The path down to the river goes down a big sandhill which is pretty much 'unridable' due to the deep sand. I rode down as far as I could (not far at all) before climbing off and starting to walk my bike.
I had take only a few steps when I spotted these ...
Now I spend a lot of time in the woods and I love looking at and identifying tracks, but in all those years I have never seen a track that was clearly and unarguably a bear. I've identified tracks from coyotes, foxes, wolves, moose, elk, deer, caribou, wolverine, cougar, lynx, and a bunch of smaller critters!! I've seen bear scat and bears and on a number of occasions known I was close to bears but actual bear tracks eluded me. I was almost convinced the bears were levitating over the trails I frequent - but here it was - a bear track.
I knew it was fresh too, as it has been raining a lot the last while and these tracks were untouched by rain.
I got pretty wrapped up in photographing the tracks without even thinking about the fact that maybe the bear wasn't far off.
When we eventually got going again and got to the bottom of the hill a squirrel trilled in the trees making Bet and I both jump - or that is what I assumed made Bet jump!
We continued the little bit further to the river and played around there for a bit.
As I began the climb up the sand hill pushing my bike Bet started going all 'ninja' on me. She'd take two steps and then spin around and stare into the woods with a focus that usually eludes her.
It didn't take a 'Dog Whisperer' to get the message - we were not alone. Something, pretty obviously our bear friend, was watching from the woods.
I was torn between wanting to get a look at him and wanting to get out of there!!! The recent story of a man in Alaska killed at his cabin by a black bear was pretty fresh in my mind and my 'bear bell' didn't offer much in the way of 'protection'.
Nor did I expect my 'bear dog' to help me out....
Apparently her job stops at 'detection'.
With equal parts reluctance and relief we climbed the hill and out of the valley.
I stopped at the top and watched the woods for a bit, hoping for even a glimpse - but it never came.
But that was okay. Knowing you are in the presence of true wildness is cool in it's own right - and thanks to those tracks, I for sure knew that!!!
My thanks to the woods for a truly cool birthday gift!