We are officially in bear country – the Scandinavian version. We’ve taken an ‘S’ shape detour north east from Trondheim in Norway to Stromsund in Sweden. From here we’re driving the Vildmarksvagen (the wilderness road) it’s a 500km loop route, so we’ll probably drive a quarter to half of it. The first section is through forest, lakes and marshes – it’s home to bear and moose. We’re pretty excited as wildlife is one of the main reasons we love to travel. And I have quite a fascination with bears and watch far too many documentaries about them.
Scandinavia’s brown bears supposedly shun away from humans and are not nearly as aggressive as there counterparts in the rest of the world. So if this is the case then I really REALLY want to see one!
During our trip in North America I was most looking forward to seeing bears…and didn’t see one. We hiked lots, drove slowly, checked out an old bear den, followed fresh skat, but to no avail. Craig was lucky enough to see one, I have forever been jealous. It was thanks to me, after all, that he saw one.
As we did a pleasant hike in the Canadian Rocky’s, with a lake to our left and a steep forested hill to our right. We got to a sign saying the area from here on in was the ‘grizzly garden’ where landslides plummet down and grizzly bears feast on berries and other goodies at the bottom. It basically said it would be very un-wise to continue and to turn back and go the way you came. So we did. Half way along, I stopped for a pee, Craig turned towards the forest and said “I’ll bear watch…”. A few seconds later Craig said in an overly serious voice “Lauren…I’m not joking, but there’s a bear up there!!” I cut my wee short, pulled up my pants, grabbed my camera… “Where is it?!” Then Craig started explaining “you see the big tree, well 3 trees to the left of that and…” I couldn’t see it, he tried again but I couldn’t find it and was panicking that I’d miss it or it would attack us. I quickly asked him “What sort of bear is it?” And “where’s he looking?”. Craig replied saying “it’s a grizzly…and he’s looking right at us!!”. Shit, we couldn’t hang around, I got my trusty penknife out my pocket and at the ready – fork drawn.
We scurried off and then I made a big hoo-haa about how it might be my only chance to see a bear, so we went back again. But it was hopeless, he was so well camouflaged. Craig said he just happened to be staring in one spot and then it moved, suddenly he saw the whole outline of this huge grizzly bear. Craig was left with an incredible memory and I was left with wee down my leg.