Like I said last column, I’ve been biking around the area a lot, especially Christina Lake, and I’ve been waiting to run into a bear while out.
The other day, it finally happened.
Here’s how it went down: I biked up Stewart Creek Road, came to a straight stretch and saw a big stump.
This big stump turned out to be a black bear eating grass.
Calmly, I stopped my bike then proceeded to fiddle with my cell phone, which has about six steps to get to the camera mode.
As I stood there fiddling, the bear noticed I was there a hundred metres down the road, stood up and then ran into the forest.
It was getting dark so I started heading back.
All in all a very calm and thoughtful approach to seeing what could be a dangerous animal – in comparison to my next animal encounter, that is.
A few nights later, coming up West Lake Drive, this bird jumped across the road, as if to signal danger ahead.
Well, at least that’s how it looks now, because as I raced around the corner, I almost drove right into a skunk.
Reflexively, I hit the brakes, which allowed the skunk to run right ahead of me with his tail up.
I dove off my bike into the ditch as the skunk watched me from behind its tail.
Somehow though, despite startling it, the skunk didn’t shoot. If he had, it would’ve been point blank range and I’d have been working from home for the next week or two.
So I guess the point is, a bear, a very capable killing machine (I mean if it wants) isn’t too big of a concern for me as a biker.
On the other hand, a skunk represents the terrible possibility of not being able to function in society.
Maybe there is something to cure the skunk’s smell, but what I learned from my old German shepherd that loved to chase skunks (while getting sprayed in the process) is that that smell stays for a long time.
And for my old, well-loved dog, it meant nobody wanted to be anywhere near him.
–Arne Petryshen is a reporter for the Grand Forks Gazette