by Bill Finley
Autumn in the Kootenays of BC splenders from the trees, mosses, creeks.
We were in the Valhalla Park area in October and Dale told us there were Grizzly sightings nearby so to take care while walking to the north area.
Not half an hour later, I glimpsed movement over my right shoulder. Two phantom shadows the size of large dogs passed under the cedars and behind a knoll.
We stopped 50 metres ahead where a large Olympic sized swimming pool of a seasonal pond blocked the old logging road we were hiking on.
Suddenly, and silently, two grizzly cubs rounded the hillock and jumped into the pond.
We froze in our tracks when Mama Griz came behind the cubs and lifeguarded them from shore. Binoculars brought the large animals even closer. The wind was blowing towards us, so, even in extreme anxiety we kept watching, thinking we would not be sensed.
The cubs splashed and swam. One crawled onto the bank and when his (it had to be a male!) sibling tried to exit the pond he pushed her back into the water. This happened a couple of times.
We were backing away, not wanting to push our luck, when Mama grunted one grizzly word. The cubs scurried to her side without a murmur of complaint. One other little grizzly word from the Mama and the three took off away from us into the woods.
Knees slightly trembling through both fear and awe, we turned and headed back the way we came.
"A natural high" said Dale when we recounted the adventure. No kidding!