June 07, 2002

Spring Rain and Bears

Frequent rain and bears passing through the village are a sort of rite of spring passage here on the mountain, but thie year we seem to have a surplus of both. Wet and often cool weather has kept the snow line rather low for this time of year and the Morrisey snow pillow levels are now running around the 16 year high. The river isn't flooding yet, but it is getting pretty high as we come into our peak run off period, so one does wonder about all that snow still sitting up there.

Perhaps due to the low snow line, the village seems to have an unusual share of wildlife this spring. Mother Moose is back with new born twins and the griz family of a mother, a two year old and a cub have been hanging around as has what appears to be a two year old cinnamon coloured black bear. The two young griz recently visited our back yard without mommy and I heard she might have headed up into Timber Bowl. I am not sure what to make of the cub staying with the older sibling instead of the mother.

The hill has been going through its normal spring preparations for the summer season with bike trails being cleaned up, signs appearing and what not. The bolt on bike carriers for the Elk chair were sitting up at the Bear's Den today, so it would appear that they will be using that chair for mountain bikes despite the rumoured construction of a new restaurant up there.

School will soon be over and for our daughter this will mean a change of schools for it has been proposed to close her elementary school. Despite tourist growth, the actual permanent population of Fernie has fallen in recent years and the school population has declined dramatically to the point that it is no longer feasible to keep three elementary schools open. Apparently the inflationary climate of resort growth is not a big draw for young families. So it goes.

Lizard Bowl from the top of China Wall (which was almost completely clear of snow)

Easter Bowl, also from the top of China Wall.

Looking up Bow and Arrow - still white, but not for long.

The top of China Wall, the soon to be replaced Bear's Den and the Elk Valley with the town of Fernie and a storm coming out of the Hartley Lake pass.

The Bear Chair where it crosses Ballet.

Despite the colour this guy is a young black bear, perhaps in its first season without mommy.

Low light left me with no usable griz pictures, but I am including this one as a contrast with the previous one. This guy has the grizzled hair and the hump, but what really gets your attention is those claws.