…and a lot of it! The purpose of my outing was to scout potential areas where I will be able to attract, view and photograph Mountain Lion (Cougar) and to take advantage of favorable weather forecasted in Tofino to work on a commission for a client. I was able to get the commission work done and found some nifty spots where I might be able to see a Cougar. What I wasn’t expecting were so many waterfalls! As many of you know one of my favorite subjects to photograph is moving water. The back country surrounding Clayoquot Sound is riddled this time of year with fast flowing rivers, streams and falls that are only present after a combination of heavy rain and snow melt. I’m once again reminded of the astounding beauty that “The Wet Coast” has to offer.
How often is it that we visit a place, be it a Provincial Park or some other public location and don’t take the time to read the signs that discuss it’s past, whom it may be dedicated to and so forth? I did just that today before starting my hike to the waterfalls found at Rosewall Creek Provincial Park. The park was established in 1956 in memory of Lt. Ian Macdonald (1920-1944) of the Canadian Scottish Regiment. Ian was born in Vernon, BC in 1920 and moved to Fanny Bay in 1929. Like many young men and women of his day, Ian was quick to enlist when Canada entered WW2 in 1939. On June 2nd, 1944 like my maternal Grandfather he became part of the Allied invasion of Normandy. On June 10th, 1944 sadly Lt. Ian Macdonald was killed in action. As I hiked along the trail I thought about Macdonald’s sacrifice, those of my Grandfather and of so many others. My thanks and appreciation to all Military personnel, past and present for protecting our great country and affording me the freedom to explore it’s many wonders.
…for those familiar with Vancouver Island we all know that the entire population on the island could easily spend their entire lifetimes exploring each river, creek or stream. Likely there would still be some that were missed. Today I bushwhacked a river for a few hours just south of Campbell River on Rossiter Main and was surprised by the wonderful winter conditions and colors.
The Great Bear Wild: Battle for One of the Last Conservation Frontiers on Planet Earth
The Great Bear Rain Forest: a photo odyssey
Voice (and eye) of the Great Bear Rainforest
…which offers better protection?
I recently received advanced level accreditation from BEARSCARE – http://www.bearscare.ca/ and I was surprised and glad that there’s a strong case for non lethal protection which I will use going forward while in the back country and apply it to all forms of potential encounters with wildlife. The below excerpt is courtesy of http://www.pepperpower.com and makes for an interesting read:
At first glance, this question may seem like a no-brainer. After all, aren’t guns made to kill, while pepper spray (so-called “ bear spray,” when it comes in big cans) does not? Unlike an attack by a human assailant, who may be able to use your own weapon against you, that safety/survival argument for using pepper spray doesn’t apply to a human-bear encounter or does it? When it comes to self defense against Grizzly Bears, the answer is not as obvious as it may seem. In fact, experienced hunters are surprised to find that despite the use of firearms against a charging bear, they were attacked and badly hurt. Evidence of human-bear encounters even suggests that shooting a bear can escalate the seriousness of an attack, while encounters where firearms are not used are less likely to result in injury or death of the human or the bear. While firearms can kill a bear, can a bullet kill quickly enough and can the shooter be accurate enough to prevent a dangerous, even fatal, attack? The question is not one of marksmanship or clear thinking in the face of a growling bear, for even a skilled marksman with steady nerves may have a slim chance of deterring a bear attack with a gun. Law enforcement agents for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have experience that supports this reality. Based on their investigations of human-bear encounters since 1992, persons encountering Grizzlies and defending themselves with firearms suffer injury about 50% of the time. During the same period, persons defending themselves with pepper spray escaped injury most of the time, and those that were injured experienced shorter duration attacks and less severe injuries. Canadian bear biologist Dr. Stephen Herrero reached similar conclusions regarding the effectiveness of pepper spray. Awareness of bear behavior is the key to mitigating potential danger. Detecting signs of a bear and avoiding interaction, or understanding defensive bear behaviors, like bluff charges, are the best ways of escaping injury. The Service supports the pepper spray policy of the inter agency Grizzly Bear Committee, which states that bear spray is not a substitute for following proper bear avoidance safety techniques, and that bear spray should be used as a deterrent only in an aggressive or attacking confrontation with a bear. Like seat belts, bear spray saves lives. But just as seat belts don’t make driving off a bridge safe, bear spray is not a shield against deliberately seeking out or attracting a Grizzly Bear. No deterrent is 100% effective, but compared to all others, including firearms, proper use of bear spray has proven to be the best method for fending off threatening and attacking bears, and for preventing injury to the person and animal involved.
Ian McAllister is publishing a new book, Great Bear Wild – Dispatches from a Northern Rainforest with foreword by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. It’s sure to be a delight with astounding photography and insight.
My most sincere thanks to Nova Scotia artist, painter and friend Wendy Crocker for our commission. Her chosen title “Elements” is reflected well in the synonyms of the word – aspect, detail, matter and principal all of which I pondered during this very moment in July of 2013 on Vargas Island in Clayoquot Sound. After being wind and ocean swept while kayaking I was stranded for the night on this remote island with less than adequate food, water or shelter but I had all that I needed with abundance of spirit.