Friday, September 5, 2014

Coming Face-to-Face with a Black Bear

Photo source:

What a scary experience!

When we’re not out on the roads exploring North America, we take to the local trails for some hiking and mountain exploring. This past weekend, we headed up Crown Mountain in the Lynn Canyon area, outside of Vancouver, for an afternoon hiking adventure.

This is a 5 hour hike, and comes with lots of bear warnings. We’ve been hiking to local trails around Vancouver for the past 15 years; I’m surprised we haven’t run into any wildlife on the trails before. It’s not something I’ve ever expected to see while hiking.

We were a good 2 hours into our hike, only a short distance from the top of the trail. We generally stop at the top of the mountain to enjoy the view, have lunch, and then head back down. We were maybe 20 minutes from the top of the trail, when we stopped to take a breather. While waiting on the trail, I heard what sounded like several huge trees crashing onto the trail in front of me. We stood in silence for a few seconds to see what caused the trees to topple over, and just as we were wondering what caused the noise … A HUGE BLACK BEAR APPEARED ON THE TRAIL!

I’m not very good at dealing with these situations, the first thing I like to do is completely freak out, so that’s what I did. I grabbed my air horn and blew it as long as I could. I was half expecting the bear to be startled and run off, but he didn’t. The bear was face deep in berry bushes, and was uninterested in us. In my startled state, I blew the air horn one more time hoping the bear would clear the trail and run off. Instead, the bear happily sat on the trail eating berries. I felt a little discouraged as we wanted to finish our hike, but the bear was literally sitting on the trail. So we decided to slowly walk away from the bear, and head back to the car. With bear spray in hand, and a good distance away from the bear, we ran like hell down the mountain to our car.

When I first saw the bear, my first thought was to get a picture of the bear so I could share the story/photo with some friends. After realizing it was a bad idea, I instead grabbed my bear spray and stood ready to spray the bear if need be. Sadly, the other day we heard of another hiker that found a black bear on the trail and instead of leaving or trying to protect himself, he chose to take several selfies with the bear. Shortly after, the bear killed him. Search and rescue found his body a few days later, and published his selfies in hopes of educating other hikers what not to do when you find a black bear on the trail.

What kind of wildlife have you encountered while hiking?


  1. Oh wow! Scary stuff. I came face to face with a black bear in Whistler- he was searching in a dumpster behind a hotel. But he was only a small one and the rangers were already on it- arriving soon after with flare guns to scare him back up the mountain.

  2. Whistler has a few black bears that wander the village at night looking for food. Did you ever hear the siren going off at night? It sounds like a tornado siren, but it's a bear warning alarm for people in the village.