Black bears are common in our region. They eat grasses,
berries, fish, and carrion. Normally, a Black Bear will run
when they sense a human. Make noise so that they know you
are in the neighbourhood.
We also have Grizzly bears but they are not numerous
and are not often encountered. Grizzlies can be more aggressive
toward humans. It's best to avoid certain areas at set times
of the year. Two favourite spots for grizzlies are snowslde
slopes in early Spring and along the banks of rivers where
salmon are spawning in the Autumn.
Any bear may attack under certain conditions. If you
are between a mother bear and her cubs or if you stumble upon
a bear with a fresh kill or if you surprise a bear at close
quarters, you may be in danger. To prevent all such dangerous
encounters, make noise to warn the bear that you are approaching.
Sing, talk or wear bear bells on the trail, especially in
thick brush. If you encounter a bear, back up, rather than
turning to run.
You should always carry a can of Bear Spray with you
in the bush. It is a pepper spray that is effective within
5 metres(15 feet). It is only used as a last resort but is
a comfort if you need it. Bear Spray is readily available
at all local sports stores.
Other Wild Animals:
Bears are the only large mammals in our area that you need
to prepare for. Wolves are not a danger, despite all the fairy
tales. Of course, any wild animal, even as small as a weasel,
will threaten or attack if cornered or threatened. Common
sense prevails. Never try to feed any large animal. Never
shoot and wound an animal. Leave all baby animals alone. Never
harass a wild animal.
Avoid building a campfire if the bush is dry. A campfire
can get away in seconds and create a real hazard.
If you build a campfire, always drown it with water and scatter
the ashes when you leave so that there is no chance of it
During the Spring and Summer, in certain weather conditions,
you may encounter mosquitos and black flies. The solution?
Keep insect spray in your pack and apply to the brim of your
hat, your shirt sleeves and the back of you shirt or jacket.
Avoid spraying on your skin. If a breeze is blowing, the insects
will often disappear.
If you get too wet, too cold or exhausted or a combination
of the three, you may suffer hypothermia.
The best prevention is to be prepared with proper clothing
and emergency supplies. Always take enough clothing to suit
the worst possible weather conditions. Weather can change
quickly from bright sun to wind and rain.
Make certain that you always carry a rainproof and windproof
Keep spare socks and a dry undershirt in your pack. Store
any spare clothing in a plastic garbage bag or waterproof
bag. Many packs are not waterproof and everything that is
not protected will get very wet in a rain shower.
Take a toque and mittens if you plan on hiking high
above timberline, even on a warm summer day. At the 7000'
to 9000' level, the temperature can be close to freezing even
if it is warm and sunny at timberline.
Always carry a package of waterproof matches and a mylar
Space Blanket in each persons pack. You may never need
them but if someone is injured, you may have to leave them
on the trail while you hike out for help. The Space Blanket
can keep them warm and the matches can be used to start a
fire that can keep them warm and comforted.
Stagnant water in swamps and slow-running creeks and rivers
may contain various natural micro-organisms that can make
you sick. Avoid drinking from any water source that is slow-moving.
If you must use such water, boil it hard for three minutes
or treat it with tablets available for that purpose or else
use a water purification unit, available from local sports
shops. Fast-running water from glaciers and snow banks above
timberline are generally safe to drink.
Be certain to pack enough water. There is a lot of water in
our area but some trails follow ridges that may have no water
source for hours.
Sunburn and UV:
We have long summer days and sunlight that can burn skin
in 30 minutes or less. Keep sun block cream in your pack and
refresh it through the day.
UV rays are more intense and dangerous at higher elevations
above timberline. The higher you are, the more important to
protect your skin with sun block cream and to protect your
eyes with UV blocking sunglasses, especially if you are hiking
on snow or ice patches. Strong UV rays are suspected of lowering
your natural immune response. Sun block cream, sunglasses
and a wide-brim hat will minimize your exposure.
Much of our area is mountainous or rolling hills. if you
take a good look around at the start of a trail, you can usually
figure your location by sighting nearby peaks or ridges.
Take a compass and a local topographic map as a backup.
It is a good idea to take a roll of flagging tape with you,
to mark a return trail that may be hard to see on descent.
This is especially true if a trail disappears at timberline.