Melissa's Blog

Monday, July 10, 2006

On Friday Alain and I took the motorcycle up to Gatineau Park. I had never been before, but like elsewhere in Ottawa, it never ceases to amaze me how much greenspace the National Capital Region has. Gatineau Park is HUGE and so green and lush and beautiful.

We stopped briefly at the Mackenzie King Estate (also within the Park) and saw an amazing lake and some of the guest cottages that King had while he lived or stayed at the Estate.
I can't find some of our best shots of the lake, so these ones (with us slightly blocking the view hehe) will have to do for now).

We didn't stay too long at the Mackenzie King Estate because we had planned to be at the top lookout spot for the sunset, so we hurried on our way.
Here are some pics of the sunset and view.

After the sunset at Champlain Lookout we decided to head down to a lower lookout point, one that Alain said had a great view of the city. While I'm sure the view of the city was lovely, we got slightly distracted pretty much as soon as we arrived. It was just the two of us at the lookout, and almost immediately we heard a snorting noise in the brush below the lookout area parking lot. I thought it might be a dog that someone was walking at first, but after a closer look into the brush, Alain and I saw the big fat snout of a black bear!!!

Where we were standing from the parking lot there was about a ten foot drop (bordered by a stone wall( down to the treed area where the bear was hanging out, but he quickly proceded to move along to and area that had much less of a drop (about five feet). We followed him tentatively, trying to snap some photo's along the way, but since the sun had already set, it was hard to catch him in a good light. He stopped and was staring at us, about five feet away from us, and about five feet below us (the drop was still bordered by a stone wall). At first it seemed okay, but he was staring at us so intently that I got a little spooked. Alain continued taking photo's, while I screamed quietly in the background that that five feet was not nearly enough room between us and that the bear could probably overcome it pretty easily if he wanted to.

We backed off a little, and a few other people showed up in cars (all we had the bike, which although you may THINK it would make a good quick getaway, it's not so quick to get the helmets etc on and actually get on and settled on the bike, this was also scaring me a little, because we really had no safe place to go if the bear decided he wanted to play) that we hid behind. No sooner had we backed away from the bear, that he decided to come out of the forest and onto the parking lot. He wandered around a bit, still keeping his distance, but a little too close for my liking and headed up towards the road. He got scared off by some other motorcyclists and ran back into the forest. That was the last we saw of him. He wasn't HUGE, I'd say about as 5 feet tall and 200 lbs - but that was big enough for me!

I had never seen a bear in the wild before, and I did NOT expect to see a bear in a park in the middle of the CITY! It's like bears wandering around Central Park in New York, it just shouldn't happen, you know?

Still, it was a pretty amazing experience, even if only one photograph turned out. I hope you can see it ok...
He's kind of the middle of the photograph, it looks like a clearing of trees, but if you look closely you can see his eyes. Click on the pic for a larger image that makes him easier to see. He's actually pretty cute if you ask me!

NOTE: According to the NCC website for Gatineau Park, there are actually between 150 and 200 bears within the park! Wow! To learn more about the wildlife in Gatineau Park check out this link:


Post a Comment

<< Home