I just returned from a walk through the neighbourhood. My route usually takes me up to where houses meet the treeline on the North Shore slope. The view of the Vancouver harbour, the city and Vancouver Island beyond never ceases to amaze but lately the presence of black bears has added a bit of adventure to my daily exercise.
Bears have become a hotter topic of conversation on the North Shore this summer than house prices or the HST. Sightings are so common that the bear control people don't even respond to calls anymore, just warning you to mind your garbage, and your kids. I have yet to come face to face with bruin, though I've seen piles of skat and overturned garbage bins. Today, three blocks from my house, a group of youngsters called out that a bear had just exited the street, but I saw no sign of it during the rest of my ramble.
My favourite bear sighting story of the summer belongs to my son-in-law. He and my daughter live just a few minutes away in a home next to a creek which a bear has been using all summer as its promenade. One early morning my son-in-law was on a conference call with business associates back East when suddenly the bear appeared just outside his window, not five feet away, tiptoeing along the top of a cedar fence like a tightrope walker. Naturally, s-in-l gave out a shout of surprise, then told his mates what he was seeing. They must think we live in a zoo out here, or belong in one.
When I was a kid the most dangerous animal in the garden was a garter snake. Now my little grandson has to be warned about bears like some backwoods pioneer. That's life on the North Shore: if it isn't the tourists in their flipflops getting lost in the mountains it's bears doing circus tricks in the backyard.