Running with the Bears

A couple nights ago my husband (Morgan) and I went to a “meet and greet” for volunteers for the Blue Dot Campaign. We met with one of the town councilors on Coquitlam’s board. Coquitlam is the last and toughest of towns near Vancouver to adopt Canadians’ right to a healthy environment. There’s a lot of work to do there, but that’s not the point of this post. One of the women at the meeting said that a bear and cub had been spotted at Mundy Park, and she was really sad that in the past a similar spotting had resulted in a shooting.

I had decided to run in Mundy Park this morning (for the shade) and, sure enough, saw a sign warning about a bear being spotted. You see these warnings each year. Bears, it seems always a mom and cub, get down into the lower mainland urban area. Their fate is always unknown. These bears probably come down for food and get stuck in the area. They are black bears, which are usually pretty afraid of humans but can get used to them if hanging out long enough. Needless to say that, on my run, when getting deeper into the forest than the typical walkers, I was clearing my throat and making noise a bit.

Turns out that it was not me but my husband who ran into a bear this morning. I am totally proud of my husband, by the way. He began running about a year and a half before me and runs 10K three times a week. He has also run half-marathons and is training for more.

Very rarely we run together. He’s so far ahead of me that when/if we do run together it is just out of some odd circumstance where he doesn’t feel like doing his usual long run. However, this morning he felt like working up to 12K and wanted to do a different route than me. He ended up running up to the Coquitlam River, where we have both run before. He said this morning he went a bit further than normal.

Here is the bear story! He was running along the river path when a black bear emerged from the forest and stopped to stare at my husband. Morgan has some sort of innate patience and knowledge that I wish I had about these things. He grew up on a ranch near Kamloops, BC, and just kinda knows what to do. He saw this bear staring at him and knew to stand still. He said that he just waved his hand and said to the bear, “Go on,” and it did. Seconds later a cub emerged from the woods and followed its mom. Morgan doesn’t carry a phone so did not take a picture. He just turned around and ran the other way.

Whenever I talk to my husband about such things it’s as if I am getting to know a side of him that I admire even more than I thought possible. If that had been me (I have a fear of bears, yet not enough to run where I know they might be, I guess), I am not sure what I would have done.

It’s kind of a whole different side of running, I guess. Morgan has run across skunks, raccoons, deer, and now bears, yet, despite my running on trails, I have not encountered such animals. You can bet that if I do I will take a picture!

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