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Monday 4 Jun 2007
Jasper, Canada

BEAR SIGHTING!!!

Had a late start today, and we decided to head up to Miette Springs as we had planned. Nothing particularly special, just a lot of aging Americans with unusual skin diseases dipping into the concrete swimming pools being fed by the sulphur springs ("seppos" we call all the US tourists we encounter - of which there are loads - in homage to our Oz experience. It's short for "Septic Tank" which in fact sounds like "Septic Yank"... crazy ozzies and their mixed up slang).

It was rather amusing watching the old folks as they fainted around the pool from too much heat exposure.

Of course as the title suggests, the best part of the day was in fact during the trip up to the springs.

We saw our FIRST CANADIAN BEAR IN THE WILD!

It was a black bear .. the least vicious kind, and it was 10 metres up a tree beside the road, feeding on leaves. I spotted it as we drove underneath it and we HAD to pull over to get a photo.

Black bears are pretty damn dangerous, but that didn't deter me from walking directly under the tree to get "that perfect shot". Of course I was ready to sprint in case it lost it's balance and fell Pete-ward.

As is always the case in these situations, passing tourists noticed I was photographing something and stopped their car too... and then more.. and more.. soon there were 10 cars on the road in both directions blocking the path.

Evidently the bear was getting slightly miffed by this, so he started to climb down.. at which point we all scarpered!

Bears can run the length of a football field in 6 seconds and WILL attack if feeling threatened.

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