Today, I’d like you to take you on a journey into the Great Bear Rainforest. Follow me and share my great Encounter with the Spirit Bear!
In September 2014, we were traveling for the first time to the Great Bear Rainforest. This unique landscape on the West Coast of Canada is one of the last contiguous large cold rain forests of the world. So far, the region is not very strong in the tourist focus, but this is what made it particularly attractive for us.
So we made our way and arrived – very befitting – in the pouring rain at the Spirit Bear Lodge in Klemtu from where we wanted to start our bear excursions. Of course we also heard about the Kermode Bears, the „Spirit Bears“, but we initially counted no great chance to obtain having an encounter with these rare animals. When we left for the tour the next morning, the sky was gray. Still, it was dry and so we drove about an hour with our little boat until we arrived at one of the many small islands that make up this region. Salmon jumped all around, eagles circled above us, on the horizon we saw humpback whales – just breathtaking. After we had climbed ashore, we immersed into a silence which was not oppressive, but made us feel reverently. We felt this place is something special.
No sooner had we reached the place that should be our observation post for the day, we were greeted by a huge Black Bear. Just 20 meters in front of us, he calmly ate a salmon.
We were amazed at how close to us this animal came without being disturbed by us. But then we held our breath – from the forest came a Spirit Bear!
He was not as massive as his black conspecific and his white fur shone downright against the dark trees. Despite its color, he had no resemblance to a Polar Bear. When he noticed us, he was attentive. He wasn’t afraid of us. Slowly he moved up to us – at first very hesitant, then more and more resolutely. Again and again he stopped to look out for us, even stood on his hind legs to have a better view on us. He was beautiful, and nothing threatening came out of him.
Motionless we sat there and watched spellbound as he came closer. Soon I had put the camera aside because I was too fascinated by this beautiful animal. Finally he had approached almost five meters towards me. Then he paused and looked me calmly straight in the eye.
I will never forget this feeling for all my life. A moment so intense and peaceful as I would never have dreamed of! When he watched me well enough, he turned away and walked slowly down to the river to fish. My heart was racing. I was indescribably happy. We watched as he skillfully catched salmon from the raging water and then disappeared into the forest with his prey again.
On this day he came back several times, and when we left his territory it was almost as if we would say good bye to an old friend.
We know that we will come back to the mysterious, magnificent forest of the Spirit Bears, because a part of us stayed there.
I also made a video of this encounter with many more pictures within – just click here
You’ll find all pictures of this article in higher resolution in a photo gallery below.
This unique area is in danger – if you want to learn more about it, also if you want to take action to keep it safe, please visit the Pacific Wild website. Ian McAllister and his team are doing a great job to safe the Great Bear Rainforest, and you will also find lots of wonderful pictures and stories! I met Karen McAllister during my visit, and really I have to say thank you for your kindness and your never ending hard work! I also have to say thank you to the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association (CCCTA), which made this visit possible for us.
The german version of this story was published by the magazine „Myspotlight Kanada“.
Did you like my story? If you ever had an encounter with the Spirit Bear too, I would love to hear your story! Just leave me a note in the comments about your thoughts or share your own story with us!