OK, perhaps that title was a bit misleading. It is certainly what I thought a few months ago. In fact in the time between then and now I have been very tempted just to sell everything I own and disappear into the mountains.
Then a little bit of reality set in. Whilst I may have been able to get a Visa to stay longer than a holiday, I knew I could survive here on next to nothing, living in a tent etc. I did not account for the number of creatures over there that would simply regard me as their next meal. That chap above looks a little hungry to me and given half a chance would be straight through the screen, skipping starters and heading straight for the main course.
Of course, bears aren’t the only predators that I would need to be on the lookout for, but they are to me, the most fascinating. These huge, powerful creatures can crush your skull with a single nibble, or slit you open with a swipe of the paw. Yet despite their size, bulk, and power, they can move at speeds where a human simply cannot outrun them.
That said, when viewed from a safe distance, they provide what I think is a captivating view on family life. Watching how the mother bear shields and protects her cubs, even whilst fishing for salmon in the river.
Loss of Habitat
I saw a documentary where black bears were encroaching on peoples’ homes and gardens. These were not isolated incidents involving single bears. These incidents involved groups of three or four fully grown black bears, invading peoples’ gardens and going through the bins for food. Now that may not sound too dangerous until I tell you the bins were large industrial-sized steel bins that had the locks smashed off them by the bears and the metal lids bent back like an open tin of sardines. Also, to get to the bins in the first place, the bears had snapped a 4″ x 4″ gate post as though it was nothing more than a match-stick.
Residents living in this community within a 45-minute drive of Manhattan could no longer let their children play outside because the bears no longer feared human interaction.
Now that is scary.
It kind of makes it a pleasure for the urban foxes around here to have an unsuccessful go at my bin. At least they run off when I shout at them.
So I think before I do head off for Canada, whenever that opportunity comes, I need to do a lot more thinking about safety and whether camping is actually an option after all.
Local knowledge. You simply cannot beat it.