Beatrice the grizzly bear and her triplet cubs are turning into one of the biggest hits from our September viewing season. This video will make you smile and quite likely laugh at the cubs antics. At the same time notice that while Beatrice might appear to be ignoring them while snacking on her salmon she is very aware of her cubs and surroundings. The one thing she really doesn’t pay much attention to is the lucky guests mere meters away in our viewing stand. You can see the video here
A few lucky guests were treated to a wonderful sight at Knight Inlet Lodge in late August. One of our grizzly sows, we call her Beatrice, chose to nurse her triplet cubs right below our viewing stand. This wonderfully tender moment illustrates how our presence is accepted by the bears of Glendale Cove. Our standards of bear viewing and minimizing our impact on the bears has helped to make magical moments such as this possible. https://www.youtube.com/user/theknightinletlodge
Our thanks to guest Linda T for this wonderful footage. We always love to hear from guests after they depart the lodge and those that are willing to share photos or video footage really help us out.
Knight Inlet Lodge has spotted a “new” species with the first known sighting of a Hoary Marmot in Glendale Cove. Originally spotted by Knight Inlet Lodge Guide Tress while on an “Above The Clouds” hike in mid June then again yesterday near the lodge. The largest member of the North American ground squirrel family is usually seen higher in the mountains near the tree line. Knight Inlet Lodge Guest Frank Drewello was kind enough to share his photo with us.
While their name Hoary refers to their silver-gray fur on their shoulders and upper back it is their nickname “Whistler” that has a local British Columbia connection. The well know ski resort by the same name, originally called London Mountain, was renamed Whistler after the marmot.
We hope this new resident of our area decides to stay and treat our guests to regular sightings.
Our 2016 season is off to a great start with sunny warm days and lot’s of grizzly bears for people to view.
The 3 top grizzly bear highlights so far are
- Bella reappearing with triplets. Bella2
- Lenore & Stella returning for Stella’s second season.
- Frank & Amber back and still eating barnacles
Every year we look forward to seeing “our grizzly bears” return for another season. Bella returning with triplets is just icing on the cake as far as we are concerned.
Video courtesy of grizzly bear researchers Dr. Melanie Clapham and John Kitchin. Photo courtesy of John Kitchin
I AM BACK FROM INDULGING IN MY PASSION FOR WILDLIFE AND HAVE RETURNED AS A “DIFFERENT PERSON.” I am “without a heart.” I have lost it to a region in the world that I thought never existed…a superbly pristine region that exists today only because of the tireless efforts of people who dedicate their lives to its preservation.
Tucked away in this “secret place” is a land of serenity and indescribable beauty!!! A place so quiet that, at times, the only sound that can be heard is the sound of your beating heart…punctuated by the sounds of the natural world going about its daily business of surviving.
Bald Eagles quietly soar high above you. They quickly descend to your eye level to fish or hunt. They pass right before your eyes giving you the opportunity to clearly see their distinctive white head and tail feathers. (Such regal and beautiful creatures – the majestic symbol of our country, but with a Canadian accent, “eh” 😉 Their white feathers, of course, indicate that they are adults. (Immature eagles have brown heads and tail feathers.) Sometimes, these powerful raptors perched themselves, with wings spread (done mostly by the immature ones), on low branches to warm themselves. Sometimes they were easy to spot, sometimes they were not. Their camouflage is PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!! Most of the time, with the aid of binoculars, they were visible and easy to spot. They perched high atop or in the middle portion of the tall trees. At times, however, I had a little difficulty “locating” them in the trees. I soon found that if I listened quietly for their distinctive but unusually quiet, high pitched whistle-like call, I could “pinpoint their location.”
These “sentinels” kept a vigilant watch over their domain. They protected their young and were always scanning for food, which, at this time of the year, is predominantly the life-giving SALMON.
Great Blue Herons also flew by, and you are awestruck by their immense wing spans, and of course, their beautiful blue/gray plumage. You wonder how such large birds can take flight with such ease, but then you stand reminded that Mother Nature has planned it all SO PERFECTLY!!!
Sometimes there were “aerial traffic jams” because so many different species of birds “took off at the same time,” but they seemed to have a fantastic Air Traffic Control Center there. It kept them all collision free…(at least when I was there anyway.)
Many other birds also “competed for our attention by expressing their feelings” via unique calls, which we became familiar with after a few days.
BUT NOW COMES THE PI’ECE DE RE’SISTANCE……….SUDDENLY AND QUIETLY, appearing out of nowhere from the woods was A SINGLE, MAJESTIC, POWERFUL GRIZZLY BEAR. OH MY GOD!!! MY DREAM HAS COME TRUE!!! This is reality! This is not the “Nature Channel.”
This grizzly bear had unknowingly graced me with the privilege of seeing it in its natural environment. It slowly sauntered out and exposed its huge muscular body, accented at the shoulders by the familiar “hump.” Cautiously it “scanned” the area visually, then sniffed the air for what I call “current conditions.” With its incredible sense of smell, it most likely had already detected our presence but it did not seem to acknowledge it. (It did not perceive us as a threat largely due to the efforts of the people of Knight Inlet Lodge.) It sometimes paused to scratch an itch or stand on its hind legs to “get a better view” of its world. It knew we were there, but it chose to ignore us. Thank God!! (We were always in a protected stand…but Thank God anyway.)
We were all instructed at orientation to walk slowly and softly and to remain quiet at all times. Avoiding any possible eye contact was imperative, but remaining quiet was especially difficult, especially since your adrenaline had increased and your heart was racing with excitement at the sight of the bear. Little squeals of excitement inadvertently slipped out. With your mouth now covered to avoid any further “faux pas,” you hope that “you have not been discovered” by the bear…By now, cameras whir and click. Sometimes the squawk of the radio (that is normally turned down) scares the life out of you, but thankfully, the bear has not been scared off and you are relieved… The bear goes on about its business of finding food.
Soon the real “fun” starts. When the bear spots the “perfect” salmon – one that is attempting to go upstream (prematurely), the chase begins. Splashing wildly in the clean, clear water seems to be the “technique of choice.” I found it to be the most entertaining. It pounces, it paws the water, it stops suddenly, it changes direction, it pauses, stands, shakes off the water, and continues until it catches the elusive but delicious salmon. This goes on for hours, and witnessing the expression on their faces is priceless. When unsuccessful at catching anything, some bears show noticeable “disappointment” through their “adorable” body language. It was during these moments that I actually felt sorry for them…but at the same time, down deep, I felt a sense of relief that the salmon had escaped.
At first, I wondered why these apex predators were unable to catch a salmon every time they “fished” since there were hundreds of thousands of them swimming all around them. However, with the present dry conditions, the majority of the salmon are forced to wait in sporadically spaced pools until the rivers rise. Thankfully for the salmon, these pools (although relatively shallow) are still too deep for the bears to successfully fish. Bears wisely conserve energy, and being opportunistic, they wait, instinctively, for “easier pickings.” They know that the salmon will soon leave their “deep sanctuary” to start their final journey upstream. They will pass through shallower areas of the river, which make them extremely vulnerable. I would estimate that, with the recent rains in Canada, the water levels have now risen enough for them to start their journey up river – through the “bear gauntlet.” Then, giant claws, sharp teeth, and powerful jaws will make quick work of the hapless salmon. But it is a natural phenomenon that I must accept. It will allow the grizzlies to gorge themselves in preparation for their long sleep ahead. This bounty of salmon will enable them to survive another year in their dangerous world filled with uncertainty.
As always, human arrogance poses the greatest threat to their safety and existence….trophy hunting is still allowed. This area is not a protected sanctuary. Knight Inlet Lodge has started a unique campaign to “STOP THE HUNT,” and I am PROUD to be a part of it. They have even paid outfitters for their bear tags to save the life of the Grizzly. They are attempting to repeat this noble task yearly. With continued financial support from visitors like us and public exposure of the dire circumstances of the MAGNIFICENT GRIZZLY, they hope to someday soon stop the slaughter. The process is painfully slow!!!!!!!
I hope that you have not been bored by my “short notes” of my journey to a place where time seems to have stopped…I have many more stories to share……My favorite being the one about the mother bear and her temporarily lost cub that caused her to become extremely DEFENSIVE AND DANGEROUS in her quest to be reunited with her precious baby. Her vocalizations and movements were quite intense and scary…And then there is the lone wolf (with an attitude) who taunted a grizzly and was chased when it got too close. They were most likely “playing,” but harassing a grizzly is not a good idea.
My adventure goes on and on and on….IT IS ONE THAT I WILL CHERISH FOREVER AND NEVER EVER FORGET! I HOPE TO RETURN THERE SOON.
Until later, take care….. God Bless you. I hope that you are soon able to go to the lodge. Many of the staff there said that they look forward to meeting you some day!
Our thanks to Karen Henry for sharing her story with us.
2015 is shaping up to be a fantastic season at Knight Inlet Lodge with some amazing grizzly bear and wildlife viewing.
It has been awhile since our last post, far too long actually, so our apologies for the tardy pace to our blogs. We promise to do better from now on!With the middle of August in our rear view mirror, where has it gone?, it’s time to update everyone on what has been going on at the lodge.
First of all the good news that one of our more famous bears “Lenore” is back with a new, healthy and growing cub at her side. Here is a short video of the 2 of them going about their day. lenore & cub july 2015
This young grizzly bear “Amber” is the offspring of Bella and along with her Mom and sibling had a starring role in the Disney Movie called Bears. For some reason Amber has taken to swimming out to the breakwater in front of the lodge, behavior we had not previously seen.
One feature of the old lodge that had been missing was our flag poles. For those that visited us before September of 2012 you may remember the flags of all the countries we had visitors from proudly flying out front. I am happy to report that while it it took us a couple of years we finally have our flag poles back!
2016 reservations are now open at Knight Inlet Lodge and for those that want to visit us in the peak September season the time to book is now!
Knight Inlet Lodge, Canada’s premier grizzly bear viewing lodge
Winter is upon us and what a start to the season it has been. Colder than normal temperatures followed by torrential rainfall that had rivers overflowing and low lying areas flooding. Thankfully the lodge and our area survived the rainfall without any major problems.
January and February will see us starting on staffing requirements for 2015. It is inevitable that some staff won’t be back but hopefully the majority will return for another year at the lodge. Some good news is that Lodge Manager Brian Collen and Head Chef Paul Aitken will both be returning.
A couple of changes for 2015 will see us moving our hotel location in Campbell River to the brand new Comfort Inn & Suites that is set for a grand opening on February 1st. This modern, downtown hotel will feature an indoor pool, fitness center and a hard to beat location that is surrounded by restaurants and shopping. The other big change for 2015 is that we will no longer be closing for the last week of July. This means that from when the lodge opens on May 30, May 29 in Campbell River, the next day we will be without guests will be October 17th.
What won’t change in 2015 is fantastic grizzly bear viewing, beautiful remote scenery and memories for a lifetime!
Have a wonderful holiday season with friends and family and we’ll see you in 2015!
With the last guests departing Knight Inlet Lodge on October the 16th another very successful grizzly bear viewing season has come to an end. The lodge is now all buttoned up for the winter with water lines emptied, boats and motors out of the water and the 1001 details that go into closing a lodge up for the winter taken care of. In only a few short moths we will start to reverse the process with preseason work crews going into the lodge well ahead of our May 30th opening.
Looking back at the 2014 grizzly bear viewing season some of the highlights for us were in no particular order. (a) having 2 sets of quadruplets with all 8 cubs looking healthy. (b) lots and lots of grizzly bears around in the fall with daily sightings of over 20 bears being common. (c) a very healthy, if late, salmon run. (d) good friends of the lodge returning for their 5th and 4th visits respectively. (e) a wonderful crew at the lodge who helped over 1800 guests leave with lifetime lasting memories (f) and finally a whole bunch of wonderful photos and videos for us to share on our Facebook page.
Moving forward the 2015 reservation season is off to a roaring start with many dates in September almost or completely sold out. If you are thinking about visiting the lodge in September of 2015 booking ASAP is definitely recommended.
A couple of new features for 2015 will be our move from Herons landing Hotel to the newly built Comfort Inn & Suites in Campbell River. This modern, downtown hotel will feature an indoor pool, fitness center and is right next door to shopping and restaurants. The other change for 2015 is the fact that we will no longer be closing the last week of July as in past years.
Have a great holiday season and we’ll see you at Knight Inlet Lodge in 2015!
Knight Inlet Lodge has a limited supply of 2015 calendars featuring the photography of Shea Wyatt for sale. At only $25.00 Canadian these beautiful calendars make the perfect gift for the grizzly bear fanatic that you know and love. They can be shipped worldwide so email us at email@example.com for details and mailing cost.
The end of September is upon us, bringing golden light and cool autumn air to Glendale Cove. After several days of much-needed rain, the sun has found the cove again, shining down on several grizzly families feeding and wandering around the estuary. Guides Jason and Eddy (who some of our guests tend to mix up due to their dashing good looks, facial hair and similar wardrobes purchased from Mountain Equipment Co-op) enjoy a sunny afternoon with guests, watching a beautiful blonde mother bear with three cubs of the year.
Since the bears are well immersed in hyperphagia (or a state of over-eating) at this time of year, with adult grizzlies trying to take in up to 20,000 calories per day, it’s all about salmon at the moment! In order to prepare for months of fasting while in their hibernation dens, the coastal grizzlies bears are eating almost from sun up to sun down. Lots of bears, like this female grizzly, have been sighted cruising the estuary even at a high tide of 18.7 feet, searching for salmon carcasses that have floated down the river from the spawning grounds higher up. Free food, if you don’t have to chase down a fish to eat it. The more energy coming in with the least amount of energy expended results in fat, happy bears by the end of October.
Guests and guides have also enjoyed watching lots of tussling and tumbling cubs over the last couple of weeks – lots of food to go around means there’s a little more time for play! Here, 2 out of a 4-cub family have a good wrestle while one of their siblings keeps watch.
A couple of our favourite sub-adult females, nicknamed Flora and Lillian, are looking quite curvaceous at the moment – I spotted these two about a week ago out in the estuary. We look forward to the spring (a few years from now) when Flora and Lillian will hopefully be returning to the cove with cubs of their own.