Friday, April 29th.
I am on Grouse Mountain with 50+ international tourists desperate to see the two resident grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola. They’ve come from all over the world to see Canadian wildlife, and like to proudly recite to me the names of the animals they’ve seen and where they saw them. This Australian man next to me is so excited his camera hands are shaking. “I have books of bears, I can’t leave here without seeing one for real” he tells me.
I tell them about tours they can take up the coast to see bears in their natural habitat. About Bella Coola, about Klemtu and Spirit Bear Lodge. When I tell them about Kermode bears and show them Doug Neasloss’s photos I have saved on my phone, they almost lose their minds.
The bears have been sleeping in the woods for a good half hour when I arrived. They sleep for another 25 minutes before getting up and coming out to greet their public. When Grinder comes out of the woods and stands atop a drift of dirty snow, everyone gasps. Phones click, kids clap. My new Aussie friends high five as Grinder yawns and licks his chops. Coola emerges from the trees soon after, his heavy breath coming out in white clouds. He poses on the same snowdrift, crossing his paws and resting his head on his furry elbows. A hundred camera shutters click in unison.
On Grouse Mountain, right now, today, it is perfect.
In the rest of B.C., the grizzly bear trophy hunt is open until May 31.