Hello again friends, families and other assorted jealous
outdoor folk. The PACT party continues to be the bestest! It has been a couple
of weeks since we last shared our animal observations and in that time western wildlife
has continued to be a great source of conversation and laughter.
Here is more of what we saw:
3. The bigger they are, the harder they sprint.
Our paddle through Lake Winnipeg has brought us into REAL bear country. The endless rocky and sandy beaches that surround this beast of a lake are known to be heavily populated by the Berenstains.
While we often think of bears as the kings of our Canadian forests, its always surprising to see how genuinely timid they are. The other day, a life size teddy wandered into our camp and after one clank of our pot set the big bad beast jolted back into the bush before anyone even had time to fear its arrival.
Only a couple days prior we had another intimate run-in with nature, but this time it was a big fat beaver named Bruce. Most of the other beavers we’ve met along the way have shared Mr. Berenstain’s feelings towards humans. We are big, magical and scary. Beavers generally hear us, brace themselves, see us, and then power-slap their tails and swim as deep as the river’s floor will let them.
Brucey on the other hand, had decided that today was his day to face the trespassing humans. Enough was enough. He had himself tucked away perfectly amidst the bushes as he heard our voyageur roll down the last leg of the North Saskatchewan. He smelt our 37 day old margarine creep closer and closer and closer. He timed his attack flawlessly. When we paddled in line with his beaver lodge Brucey barreled his big beaver gut towards our boat ready to take on the world. The six of us turned to the wrestling bushes in a panic…our eyes met his…..AND…….he got scared and ducked deep DEEEEP into the river and began to plot his next attack.
Sure he didn’t get us this time, but little Brucey faced his fear and the next time an unsuspecting human paddles through his turf, they are bound to get a healthy piece of tail in the cheek.
Next, we saw the bravest mammal of them all – THE OTTER! Lake Winnipeg is filled with blue green algae making it unsafe to drink. As a result, we have to paddle into small connecting rivers along its coast to fill our bottles. The other day we pulled into a small river system and were met there by the Otterbergs – A territorial family of 8 that understand the importance of holding their ground.
As we waltzed into their backyard they stood tall and united. They poked their heads out and stared us down with bravery and disgust. We figured they would back down after realizing we were a part of the all-powerful human team. NOPE! Needless to say, we filled up our bottles as fast as we could and got the hell out of there.
Wise backcountry travellers have long said, “its not the size of the bear in the fight, rather the size of the fight in the otter”. When approaching wildlife in your future adventures never take your safety for granted. You never know which natural neighbor is going to take a stand.