We locked eyes not once but twice. And then I bolted.
I’d been looking out at a wave breaking over a rock. It was a pretty scene, peaceful and Zen like in that you could do it for hours. Then I’d turned around and read the blurb about the ruins of a former shepherd’s shelter.
But it wasn’t until I got my camera out to take a picture of the wave that I noticed her – a big, beautiful black bear and her two cubs – and no I don’t have any proof.
I was all alone. It was about ten in the morning and there wasn’t another car in the Kejimkujik parking lot when I pulled in. I in fact had congratulated myself of having the place to myself.
And for a good part of the hike in Kejimkujik National Park it was great. I loved the desolate beauty of the place – wild flowers galore including the orchids above that I’d never seen before, rocky beaches, stunted trees and spectacular ocean vistas.
I had planned to hike about a kilometer out to the start of a 5.5 kilometre loop hike, do it and then call it a day. I was about 80% done with the loop – making good time even with lots of photo stops.
But I should have known something was up. I saw bear scat – fresh too – but mistook it for a dog and figured someone had walked rather then driven in with their dog to hike the trail. The scat didn’t have any berries in it – as it wasn’t berry season – and looked pretty darn pebbly if you want to inspect the picture. The scat should have been obvious clue #1.
There was a section of boardwalk I hiked – and I thought it was rather strange that all the ferns coming out through the cracks were torn and beaten up. I actually made some noise through here – just in case. Well duh.
If I’d put two and two together I would have known I was about 15 minutes behind the bears.
Sometimes ignorance is bliss – and I continued to snap pictures – rather lovely don’t you think?
It was at the shelter (photo below) that we eyed each other. I backed away and in fact ducked behind the shelter to see if I could get a quick shot. She was still staring at me. That’s when I decided I was out of there and there was no time for a picture.
You’re not supposed to let a bear see you running – and I didn’t but as soon as I turned the corner and was hidden from view I ran with everything I had in me.
I put many kilometers between she and I before I slowed down to a normal walking pace. For the first 15-20 minutes I glanced back every few seconds. I also picked up a few pieces of driftwood to make myself look larger.
Since I’m writing this blog I obviously survived. In fact I ran into four people on the return and warned them. At that point I had some peace of mind because they were now between the bear and I ….unless she completed the loop and started back in my direction.
Useful Kejimkujik National Park (Seaside location) info:
- Kejimkujik Seaside is roughly 185 kilometers west of Halifax.
- Entrance is free.
- No camping is allowed.
- Facilities are basic – a washroom, a phone and some maps.
- It’s bear country obviously so travel with others and bring along a can of bear spray. If you see fresh scat make a lot of noise!
Have you ever been hiking in the seaside part of Kejimkujik National Park? Do you have any bear stories?
Other posts related to my Nova Scotia trip you might like:
- Kayaking the World’s Highest Tides in the Cape Chignecto Area
- 45 Random Observations About Nova Scotia
- Visiting Nova Scotia: Don’t Miss Peggy’s Cove
- One of Nova Scotia’s Great Day Hikes: The Hike to Cape Split
- A Phenomenal Kayaking Trip Near Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia
- Beautiful Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia
- Canoeing in Canada: Don’t Miss a Trip to Kejimikujik NP
- Extreme Silence: A Solo Backpacking Trip in Cape Chignecto