Here’s the full story of our little “bear encounter” story (as I now know it) from when we were kayaking in Desolation Sound from August 3 – 6th:
Friday and Saturday night we stayed on a little island. Sunday we packed up and paddled and were trying to go to Grace’s harbour. The day before we missed the lake we were looking for – on the accounts of an old map. So we missed Grace’s harbour too. We instead paddled into the next inlet (called Lancelot). It was pretty deserted. We finally found a place that had a beach line (the rest were rock face), and we put in. There was a small clearing on top, you can see the top of our tent in this photo:
That we put our tents on. I was concerned from the beginning about animals because it was so remote and no one was around.
came over to chat to my parents and told them that years previous they have seen bears in the area, but that was in September. They offered to put our food on their boat. But we had already stashed it along with anything smelly high in a tree). We kept everything out of our tent but ourselves and our sleeping stuff.
We all went to bed by about 10pm. I must have fallen asleep. Around midnight I woke up to a big yell (I thought it was in my dreams at first). I guess my Dad had heard something and yelled (to scare it off). A couple times my parents came out of their tent (which was only about a meter and a half away from ours). They told us it was just sea otters (though they had heard something more and did not want to let us know). The tide was coming up so then also heard the boats move/crash on the beach.
Then around 1:30am or so I heard crashing in the woods behind my parents tent (but more off to the left) quite a few times. I asked my parents what it was and they said I don’t know.
2am I gave up and snuggled up to my husband, who I was for once very delighted was snoring – because made me only hear him and not all the other noises.
3am I woke up to my parents chatting, and don’t remember drifting off again, but I must of.
3:30am I woke up to my husband yelling over and over at the top of his lungs, sitting up in the tent, and frantically pulling and grabbing at me to pull me towards him. I started to scream as well. The first thought I had was “the bear is upon us” and squeezed my eyes shut and grabbed onto my husband. We stopped yelling (my parents also started yelling at exactly the same time – they must have heard the same thing).
(My husband’s version – which he did not disclose to me until we were safely at home Monday night was: He woke up, I was sleeping. He looked at my side of the tent (across from his, and the side that was in between my parents tent and ours), and saw a large animal leaning against the tent (yup it was most likely a bear). He thought it was sniffing at something (it was not being violent or trying to get into our tent or anything nasty we think). My husband started to yell, grabbed at me (to get me away from the side of the tent), and the animal must have moved off (shaking our tent – which I sort of remember now when I thought the “bear was upon us”).
Then I said why were we yelling? And my husband asked what was that, and my Dad said THAT was a bear.
I wanted to get out of the tent and go to my parents. My husband said no, stay here (not knowing or actually haven seen the bear, thank GAWD!). Then Dad said ok lets all go light a fire. So we all got out of our tent to light a fire on the beach.
We waited until dawn, and at first light around 5am we went and grabbed our tents to pulled them down to the beach, where the tide was now way out. My husband and Dad had a snooze while Mom and I stayed up to stoke the fire:
Then Dad got up and Mom and I tried to nap.
We wanted to leave, but the tide was so far out, that we were not able to. As soon as you went past a certain point you’d sink in clay like sticky mud. We packed up and waited and were able to move out by 8:45am.
I had nightmares for a couple weeks about it! It really bothered me. I’m sure I will soon put it further away in my memory though I wanted to document this so I would remember and others going to Desolation Sound, try to stear clear of camping in Lancelot Inlet.