The story starts when we first decided to go travelling to Canada, my wife and I, probably ten years or so ago.
Erm…I’m a very keen fisherman and er..we arrived in a small town called Jasper in the middle of the Rockies. I went to the nearest fishing tackle shop and asked where the best place to wild trout was.

The man behind the counter said to me “I know just the place you need…’s about six kilometres walk ..erm..out into the ..the woods, and you’ll come across a small lake called The Triangle Lake, and it’s about five large, and it’s full of trout.

- Did you have transport? Were you…did you hire a car? were travelling mainly by public transport, trains an..and buses. And..erm.. this particular lake was only reached by through…through the forest. So, no..even..even if we had a car, it wouldn’t have been good.

- So you’re walking through the forest with your fishing gear and your fishing rod and everything, and your wife.

We..Well, Craig, …initially we had to leave very early in the morning. We set off about five o’clock, and..erm.. we trekked…my wife wasn’t too happy to set off at five o’clock, but..erm..after a bit of encouragement..erm.. she decided it was a good thing to do. And off we went.

Er..we traipsed through the forest, and finally arrived at this fantastic, beautiful in a fantastic setting surrounded by forests and mountains, very peaceful and tranquil and..erm.. I..I started to fish. wife isn’t a keen fisherman, unfortunately. It would have been nice if she..she..she’d joined me on my hobby, but sometimes, y’know….wives..y’know..have different…different interests.

- So, what does she usually do while you’re fishing?

Erm..she usually moans first that I’ve gone fishing, and she…tries to find something else to do. So, in this instance, when we went to Triangle Lake, she disappeared just round the corner into another bay, where she was gonna (going to) write some postcards to some back home in England.

- So she wasn’t with you while you were fishing. She was somewhere near.

No, I..I could just about see th.. the beach she was sitting on, but I couldn’t see her and sh..she couldn’t see me.

So, I..I was fishing away quite happily. Didn’t catch any fish unfortunately, but th..that’s not unusual. And..erm..then all of a sudden I..I heard approach me from behind. A sort of a four-wheel-drive type Land Rover, Range Rover and..erm.. the man erm out of the car and he said..he sort of whispered sort of a shout-whisper, if that makes sense. And said “excuse me, excuse me, would you like to see a bear?” And I..and I turned round I said “Well yes, I’d love to see a bear, thank you”.
And he goes “Well, if you turn around REALLY slowly, there’s one coming up behind you!”
And I said, “Really?”
So, I..I..I.. looked around…looked around slowly, as he’d advised, and there..there right behind me was a black bear just sort of padding around…..yeah

- How close was it?

Well, it was about twenty feet…erm..yeah, twenty feet or so. It was a big bear! That’s all I’m saying. It was a big bear!..and erm..anyway..

- How did you feel?

Well…initially I thought “I..I haven’t seen a bear before. This is amazing.”
And then I thought “It’s a big bear!”..and erm..and I thought, “That’s it!”
And the man goes, “Come, come to me quickly…but slowly, don’t run because he will chase you down.”
I..I said, “OK, fine.”
He goes, “Put your fishing tackle down.”
I said, “Well, it’s expensive!”
He goes, “Just put your fishing tackle down.”
So, I..I…I slowly walked back to th…the car, and he said, “Tha…that’s fine, just….just he sees me in a car, he.. he’ll go away.”
You know what, Craig? He didn’t go away at all. No, the..the man didn’t know what he was talking about. Anyway, I…I said “What are we going to do now?”
He goes, “I am a ranger for the forest. I’ve got a gun. What we’ll do, we..we’ll fire a shot, and it’ll scare the bear away and that will discourage the bear away from humans and people in the future.”
So, he fired a shot, and do you know what the bear did Craig?

- Ran away.

No, kept on coming. And he was…he was getting bigger all the time. And I got in the car. And the man goes, “This’ll work” and he put a firework, within the gun somehow and…and…and fired the gun. And it made a real “whizzbang!” type noise.

- A louder noise.

Very much so, very much so. Like a thunderclap noise. And the bear….

- Did that scare the bear?

It did! It scared me, and I was in the car! And..and anyway…the bear shot away up the hill, into the forest and, y’know…and everything was fine. And I thanked the ranger and I said “What was that?”
He says, “That was a black bear.”
And I said, “What would it have done to me if..if you hadn’t come along?”
He goes, “Well, it could have just walked behind you, could have tapped you on the shoulder. It..who knows what it could have done.”

- Well, it could have killed you, couldn’t it?

I don’t like to think about it, Craig. Yes, I think it.. I could have been killed, yes.

- So, what happened to your wife when all this was going on?

Well, sh..she didn’t finish her postcards ‘cos obviously, all she heard was fishing and whistling to myself and being a lovely, peaceful moment, and a car pulls up and hears. ‘cos she can’t see me, hears a car pulled up and a man starts talking to me, and then she hears a gun shot. So, y’know, I..I..I have a tendency sometimes to get into trouble when I’m travelling. And..not in any….

- That surprises me, Innes.

Well…and erm… this particular instance, all…all she heard was the..the car pull up, the gun shot..and…and…

- She didn’t see the bear.

No, she didn’t see the bear at all. She just thou…she just thought I’d been shot by a stranger in the forest. Anyway, she..she.. came round the corner and sh..she did have a very dry mouth. My wife can talk, she can talk very well, but this particular day she was lost for words.
She goes, “Are you alright?”

And..erm…th..than she saw the man in the ranger’s outfit, y’know, like the ranger form the forest. It was like, he was like that, in green…in a big hat and everything, and a gun. And..erm..and..she..she..she says “Are you OK?”
And I said, “I’ve just seen a black bear.”
And do you know the first thing she said?

- What?

Not if I’m OK, no. Nothing. Are you OK? Did it hurt you? No.

- What did she say?

“Did you take a photograph?”

“Well, no of course I didn’t take a photograph. It nearly killed me!” “…unless this man with the gun hadn’t come along.”

And that is my bear story. Fortunately I am here to tell it.

wild trout = trucha salvaje
counter = mostrador
1 acre = 0,405 hectáreas
track = camino, sendero
the woods = el bosque
to traipse = andar penosamente
to moan = quejarse (to complain)
bay = bahía
four-wheel drive = tracción a las cuatro ruedas
to approach = acercarse a
to whisper = susurrar
to pad around = andar silenciosamente
  to chase = perseguir
to scare = asustar
firework = fuego artificial
to fire = disparar
thunderclap = trueno
to shoot away = escapar corriendo
to tap on the shoulder = tocar sobre el hombro
to whistle = silbar
to pull up = detenerse
to be lost for words = no tener palabras
stranger = desconocido/a

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