Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Beary Scary


Years ago, before I got a good camera, I took this photo of a grizzly. It’s not  very clear, but I really didn’t want to do a close-up.

This is the Orford River which flows into Bute Inlet on the west coast of British Columbia.

We had tied the fish boat to a small dock in a bay around the corner, and then took a ride up the river in our aluminum skiff. The area was known for grizzlies and we wanted to see one, but I hadn’t counted on two things:

that we would actually see one not too far away,

and that the mouth of the Orford has a lot of sandbars.

I’ve had nightmares about bears forever, but it would still be a big deal to see one. I knew if a bear actually came along and tried to chase us, we could just turn the skiff around, rev up the outboard, and roar out of there.

On the way upriver though, we were pushing the boat off one sandbar after another with the oars to keep in water deep enough to use the motor. These sandbars were spotty and just when you thought you were in the clear, up popped another one. So I was even more nervous than usual. And of course that’s when we saw him.

Even with his hind end in the water, as he swatted at salmon going by, I could tell he was huge. We watched for a moment or two, but when he saw us, we knew it.

His head came up and he stretched his neck up tall. Then as he sauntered in our direction along the fallen log that you see lying across the river, we thought it was time to get out of there.

There are some things you do in your life that seem okay at the time, and later you say to yourself, “What was I thinking?!”

This was one of those times.

It was a big thrill to see the bear, but what if he hadn’t been so agreeable? Didn’t I know how fast they can run for a short sprint? And what if we had gotten high-centered on one of those sandbars in our haste to get away.

Everything could have ended up differently.

And I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about it,

because bears don’t have Internet inside their bellies.


Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

32 thoughts on “Beary Scary

  1. I’m glad you’re still here! Despite their size, they can move like greased lightening and can climb trees like squirrels. But we all do those things, don’t we? The things where we ask ourselves later where the old brain was hiding. That has to be a human touchstone, something that unites us the world over.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a scary position to be in, Anneli, I’m glad that you guys are still here!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whew- I have a bit of bear-phobia so that looks too close for comfort! I hear you on the “what was I thinking” after the fact front though- looking back I DEFINITELY got too close to some bison in Yellowstone… why on earth would I do that I wonder now!

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  4. What a life experience! In all of my Western reading, I am convinced Grizzlies are the largest, most treacherous of all bears. Black bears–not so bad. Grizzlies–Don’t let them see you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve seen black bears but only at a distance which suits me just fine 😏.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! That’s something.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know the feeling when a bear stands suddenly a few meters from you. Even if it wasn´t a grizzly. Still gives me a shiver.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your trusty camera captured him and that stunning setting beautifully…I remember jumping out of our vehicle on an up country trek to watch a large cinnamon bear run towards the river forgetting what might happen if he turned around and saw us, yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow what a story! That bear was a bit too close. Never seen one as I’m in the UK but seen them on the telly. Big and fast! I did once get chased by cows but no match for a bear!

    Liked by 1 person

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