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I am all showered and shaved now- really discovered the parts about myself that I don’t like and the parts I do like brought on by the fear of bears and heat and exhaustion. The trip brought out the best and the worst in me with sleeping in strange surroundings,  the constant sound of rushing  water as some hostels were beside turbulent rivers which was energizing at times and annoying when I wanted to relax and sleep at other times. There were bear warnings in a few areas which made me very vigilant and never felt comfortable enough to camp in a tent but did stay in wilderness hostels and went on short hikes. sometimes my knees swelled and I slowed to a snail’s pace. On the first day of the trip my muffler detached from the bottom of my car and I tied it on using wire and on the last night I  locked  my keys in my vehicle so it wasn’t stress-free.  But no computers, no phones, just the occasional stop at a restaurant to recharge my batteries and quench my thirst really felt right and it was great to go to bed without street lights shining through the window or radios to distract me.

And photos! Oh boy…did I ever take a lot of photos. Some were well planned and others were expressions of my being snap-happy. A  friend  joined me on the first couple of days to shoot photos and I  joked with her that I didn’t want to run into a bear but would like to see one from the car. We were armed with our bear spray and more afraid of using that stuff than running into a bear but we did practise pulling the lock out and putting it back on so that we knew how to use it. At one point   we were in an area that had posted signs that stated it was grizzly country so we made some noise. I found myself humming then realised that the song  was “Teddy Bears Picnic.” Ha! How ironic!

I got my wish when I took a road tour in the early evening specifically to spot wildlife on my last night in Jasper National Park. I spotted a black bear, cinnamon coloured just walking through the woods. I drove into an adjacent parking lot keeping a good distance and shot a couple of manual photos, noticed how dark they were so switched to program mode. I wanted enough speed to capture movement and open aperture to capture light.I also upped my ISO to get more light. In the end the ones shot manually were the best and I managed to lighten them up in Lightroom.

©Jane Chesebrough

©Jane Chesebrough