Saturday, May 14, 2011

seven hour road trip...

6pm - drive 3 hours-ish west, to the open coast. 10pm - turn around and follow your trail home. 1:30, go to sleep. yup, we made a very quick road trip yesterday. see, A is leaving on a trip tomorrow, departing by kayak from a remote town northwest of here tucked away up an inlet, and paddling the winding passageways of nootka sound and then out along the open coastline south to clayoquot sound and finally finishing in tofino. i dream about tagging along, but my kayaking skills are not up for open water, especially compared to his experienced crew. but since he and his two paddling partners needed to shuttle a car to tofino to be waiting for them upon their return, i tagged along for the ride, camera in hand (as usual). here are a few shots along the way.

cathedral grove

cathedral grove is one of the first landmarks you come across after leaving the main freeway to follow winding highway 4 to the west coast. aptly named, as you will be looking to the heavens to find the tops of most of the trees, stout and sturdy cedars and douglas firs hundreds of years old.

black bear

and apparently it was black bear night along the highway! i think i did a good job of willing them there, as while we were driving alongside where a river flows and dips over gravel bars i said "there's a bear! no, not really." yeah, i'm hilarious. but nonethelesss, not five minutes later we were curving around a corner and A pointed, "well there's a bear." and there was.

black bear & me

this black bear snuffled along in the ditch beside the road, not two metres from the car, eating grass. he wasn't the least concerned about us. i don't really like that, as i think we both should have a healthy fear of each other. but at least he didn't object my camera snapping, although the waning daylight made it hard to get sharp shots (my apologies).

black bear cubs

once we left him, not another five minutes along, we spotted mama bear and two cubs perched on the edge of the road where it dips quickly down into forest, and stopped again. the cubs disappeared below our view while mom stayed at the road, eating and watching. while this highway is generally fairly quiet, we found ourselves joined by several more cars within a few minutes, stopping to have a boo. i suppose this was more than mom liked, and suddenly the cubs appeared again, but this time hurriedly shimmying their way up the nearest tree, er, telephone pole. and this was definitely becoming a trip where i cursed myself for not bringing the telephoto lens, although the falling darkness was making shooting with my regular lens hard enough. but with mama guarding the bottom of the pole there was no desire for me to get closer. it seemed much safer to remain in my perch peeping out A's sunroof.

cubs up a pole

after a few minutes it seemed best to leave the threesome in peace and we continued on our way, stopping only once more for me to snap a few shots at my favourite little hilltop lake along the route.


the light faded as we drove along, catching the pinkening sky along huge kennedy lake in our last stretch before the coast. daylight was all but gone as we drove past the open shores of long beach and into town. after a short wait our friends caught up with us and we parked one car, piled together in the other, and headed home in darkness, to finally fall exhausted into bed well into saturday morning.

chasing the sunset


julie schmulie said...

on my trip to your part of the world we saw a bear at the side of the road too - along the stretch near cathedral grove. had been years since i'd seen one so i was thrilled. thanks for introducing me to your site - your photos are so wonderful. i'm a novice photographer, and was somewhat disappointed that i wasn't able to get any shots of the coast that could even begin to do it justice. such a beautiful world.....

Cloudberry said...

Great pictures of the bears!

Tara said...

Damn, I am starting to believe that the west coast is as beautiful as I have heard and here I am, stuck in the middle (although it has its own beauty). Great bear pictures. I like your statement about a healthy fear between us and the bears. About ten years ago, Mike and I were camping in Algonquin when a young bear ran across the entrance to our campsite, followed closely by children. Yep, children and then their parents. No healthy there unfortunately. Love the last photo.