Not Our Usual Neck of the Woods

The three of us watch in awe as the yearling bear in front of us munches on clumps of clover and dandelions along the edge of the road. He knows we’re there, barely lifting his great head in acknowledgement, but is quite content to keep eating. A couple of cars pull in ahead of us to watch as well. Cameras are raised as the vehicle occupants try to catch a decent shot of the bear. Thank goodness nobody gets out of their vehicles.

Daniel comments on how soft the bear’s fur looks. Okay, kiddo, rule #1: don’t get out of the van. He looks fluffy and cute, but he’s a wild animal and we’re here to observe what he’s doing with minimal impact on him. If it looks like we’re disturbing him, we’ll drive away and leave him to his own devices.

Yikes! A motorcycle has pulled in ahead of the group of cars. Bear apparently doesn’t like motorcycles: His eyes focus on the rider, he no longer looks like a peaceful, relaxed animal. It looks more like he’s gearing up to charge. The rider quickly gets the picture and leaves. Instantly, the bear resumes his browsing. Definitely a wild animal – no cute fuzzies any longer.

We’ve been travelling along the Duffy Lake Road on a brief escape from our usual weekend lives. This morning after breakfast I noticed that the eczema on my fingers was flaring up again. I don’t know what I’m stressed about, but the eczema along with little episodes of my heart racing and being very short-tempered suggest that a wee break would be a good idea. So I suggested to Daryle that we go on a little circle trip. After a bit of convincing he agreed. A few minutes later we were packed and ready to go!

As we pulled out of the driveway we decided to make our way along the Sea-to-Sky Highway and then take the Duffy Lake Road to Lillooet where we’ll spend the night. Tomorrow we’ll drive down the Fraser Canyon and head back home. We haven’t done this trip since before Daniel was born and it’s one that I’m particularly fond of; drastic changes in temperature, scenery, wildlife, plant life and so on.
Although we didn’t turn on the radio or put a CD on, the van was far from quiet. While Daryle and I talked about everything under the sun, Daniel pointed out crows, cows, cars and waterfalls.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when we drove through Squamish in search of lunch. There’s actually a restaurant that serves only grilled cheese sandwiches, aptly called “Grilled Frommage”. The food was great: I had the Whoa Nellie (roast beef, swiss cheese and horseradish on sourdough), while Daryle and Daniel both had the Missionary (cheese slices on white). Mmmmm… yummy.

We stopped briefly in Whistler to stretch our legs and let Daniel romp on a playground. After a quick jaunt up the highway, our next stop was in Pemberton to purchase a snack and something to drink, then we hit the road again. Much to our surprise the road heading out of Pemberton was flooded in a couple of spots! At least the water wasn’t terribly deep.
With each switchback we climbed it seemed that the plant life changed slightly, from moisture-loving to more drought-tolerant varieties. We kept our eyes peeled for wildlife, hoping to catch a glimpse of something big like a bear or mountain sheep. Boy, were we in luck! Daryle noticed the bear in the ditch at the side of the road, a bit of brown fuzz amidst the sea of green plants. After we turned the van around and pulled over, the bear climbed out of the ditch and grazed quite openly just yards from us, only the two lanes of roadway separated us.
As we pull away from the bear and leave it to its munching, I feel blessed. It has been such a treat to watch this beautiful animal. I wonder what interesting experiences the rest of our trip will bring?

About Christine N

I'm married to Daryle, Mom to two wonderful boys - Daniel and Andy.
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