Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Black Bear on the Mountain
After spending a night in Kagan Bay on the south part of Graham island we decided to hike on the Sleeping Beauty trail to the peak of Mount Raymond. On our way into the Skidegate terminal on the ferry we could see the snow-capped mountains and hoped for a clear day to hike up and get a view of this part of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands).
We were blessed this day with some sunshine and drove to the trailhead about 12 km’s outside of Queen Charlotte. The trail crossed a mountain stream and climbed through a clear-cut into a mature forest of Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock and Red cedar. It was a steep hike that climbed about 2500 feet in two kilometres. It was amazing to see the trails of the Sitka Black tail Deer moving up, down and through this steep and rugged terrain. Moss and lichen clung to the trees and the occasional view through the trees over the Skidagate channel dividing Graham and Moresby islands was amazing. It brought back many mountain adventures to my mind as we looked ‘down on the clouds’ in the valley below.
Soon enough we moved into the sub-alpine and also into the snow. What a feeling to hike into this kind of environment! We scrambled through the snow and climbed higher along the ridge towards the top of Mt. Raymond. There was a Marten who was using this same trail, bounding along in its classic loping pattern.
Just before we reached the top we came upon some fresh bear tracks and were super stoked at this discovery.
The Black bear (of which the Queen Charlottes have one of the largest subspecies) came up a steep valley and proceeded to the peak to have a look around. There were some great tracks in the snow and it felt good to see this animal in my ‘minds-eye’ as it moved through this rugged and wild environment.
Ravens circled and called overhead as we gazed towards the mountains in the western distance and the ocean below to the east. It was a special feeling and a sacred moment to feel the land from this mountain perch. I was thankful to be alive and thankful to be in this place. The traditional homeland of the Haida Nation here on Haida Gwaii. The journey continues………