I have to confess something, I'm scared of bears. I've spent most of my life living in areas where it's not out of the question to have a bear wander through your front yard so while I have a good level of respect and a great deal of education regarding them, it hasn't helped my adrenaline levels from unnecessarily shooting through the roof when I'm out in the woods.
While Mr Bastard and I were vacationing in Wells Grey Provincial Park (British Columbia) in the summer of 2012 we ran into our fair share of bears. We even chased one out of the campground one morning before we went on a nearby hike (you see where this is going yet?)
The campground we were staying at was quite remote and the hike we were going on appeared to be even more so as we had to use my 4x4 truck to get us up a trail (apparently it was a road?) in order to even get to the trail head. We parked the truck and started our hike surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of beautiful, lush wild raspberry bushes. Prime place for a bear to hang out. Great. Just Great.
After already chasing a bear earlier that day my spidey senses were screaming to pack up, go back to the city and spend the rest of my life surrounded by safe loving concrete, but we kept going deeper into the forest. It was the kind of hike that you bang sticks together and talk about how awesome the cold eggs and burnt toast you had for breakfast was just to make enough noise to keep the teeth and claw club away, but not enough noise to occasionally hear a rustle coming from somewhere in the dense raspberry bushes.
Whenever we heard a rustling noise we would freeze and listen for a moment, trying to pinpoint from which direction, how far away it was and more importantly -how big. We discussed turning back, but we had already made it half way through the hike so we pressed on. Finally, the rustling noise became very very close and we froze on the trail yet again, not knowing which direction we would have to use as an escape. I was having a mild heart attack in the middle of the forest when we finally spotted our culprit as it leapt across the trail mere inches in front of us. An adorable little toad.
We laughed it off and continued our hike but we didn't stay very long at the waterfalls we had traveled to see. By the time the truck was in view again, I practically sprinted towards it and leaped inside, happy to be safe away from the toads and other murderous creatures in the raspberry patch.
Note: Not that I have painted a particularly appealing picture of Wells Grey Provincial Park, but I do sincerely recommend exploring the area if you are able, especially if you are the kind of person that enjoys frolicking through forests and looking at water. Still water, rushing water, bubbling water, falling water. It's an enchanting area of British Columbia with crystal clear lakes, numerous waterfalls and a lot fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities.