Well I am down to the last 11 days here in Jasper. It has been a very long time since I posted something and I have very little time to write so I am going to do this in point form.
So I actually don’t have much to say so here are some pictures:
It has been a while since my last post and this one will not be very long; more of a sample of what I have been doing.
My job is fairly busy these days. Lots of bears, including grizzlies, in the Valley looking for berries.
I recently did the Jasper Skyline trail (see pictures below) with some amazing people. It was honestly one of the best hikes I have ever done. It included about 10km of ridge walking. It was also so great to spend time with my new friends who I have grown very close to here.
Today I saved a group of small Asian tourists from a sheep that was trying to nibble on their hands (it has obviously been fed.) They were very impressed by this big parks guy who could scare sheep with a clap of his hands.
Things are in full swing here despite only having 4 more weeks left in the summer. So much to do so little time.
From the top of the Notch (we started at the lake and it went up over 300 meters to this point.) we started near the red arrow.
The lovely people I hiked with, before we all got gross and sweaty. (from right to left: Myself, Claire, Julie-anne, Bree, and Josh)
Just a hint of what our day looked like.
Today was an average day for me. Hang out with new Canadians explaining how to stay safe in the Park. Drive around and find 9 bears including cubs and what we think is a mated couple. there were some sheep, dear and elk in there but at this point I have stopped counting them.
Side note: I successfully hazed a sheep today. (See previous post for my failed attempt)
Tomorrows goal: Track the mated couple and hopefully see some bear sex.
Thank you Canadian taxpayers
So incase I have not really been very clear with my job description my job is to patrol roads looking for traffic congestion caused by animals and people, then make sure that they are safe when viewing the animals. It really is a fantastic job as I go looking for wildlife and get to hang out with people who are usually genuinely interested in what you have to say.
But not everyone.
I have now encountered 4 people who do not want anything to do with me or what I am trying to tell them. The most recent was this Saturday and involved a gentleman who thought that I was an idiot and that he should be allowed to do what he wanted around the animals. He eventually frustrated me so much that I has a resource conservation (res-con) officer talk to him. This resulted in a 30 minute shouting match. After that I was given permission to call law enforcement next time I see him and get him a ticket for anything we could throw at him.
I figured that my drama for the weekend was done.
I was wrong
Sunday was such a fantastic day. Blue sky, animals, friends to drive with and the mountains. Thankfully the guy who thought I was an idiot was not that bad. He only claimed that hiding behind a tree was enough reason for him to be within feet of one of the largest bull Elk I have ever seen. So he was difficult but calmed down fairly quickly.
Part II of Sunday requires some explaining.
Big horn sheep are very common on a certain road here, and they often block traffic. So if they are in the way then one of our responsibilities is to haze them off the road. This involves shaking a hi-vis vest at them which they are terrified of for some reason. Ever since I have seen it done I have wanted to do it.
And my time came on Sunday.
The stage was set. Goats on the road. Me vest in hand, advancing on the seep. It all seemed to be going so well. But as I began to shake my vest the sheep started to advance on my instead of run in fear. I can honestly say that this was one of the most terrifying things ever. I felt very humiliated as I retreated back to the safety of the van’s driver’s seat.
But there was more humiliation to come.
When my partners had stopped laughing at me it was someone else’s turn. So out goes my female partner. I feel it is important to note that there was quite a crowd at this point that had seen my failure and now is watching my partner stare down the sheep. And with one shake of her vest those sheep ran like they had seen the most terrifying thing ever, resulting in more mockery from my friends. All that said it was still probably one of the best work days of my life with a record 7 different bears seen in less than 8 hours.
Our first hike in Jasper. Enjoy.
So I have not posted for a while and this is due to life beginning to settle down from the initial shock of moving and all that. However that is not to say that things have not been happening. Life is still very exciting and I am not often able to just sit around and relax.
I just got back today from my second backcountry camping trip. There were 5 of us who went out into the Fryatt Valley yesterday. The trip was only 17km in with about 400m gain in elevation but we are all extremely exhausted and sore. We are also very thankful to be home because there is currently a huge thunder storm going on right now.
Last monday we went to Big Bend campground on the fortress lake trail. This was only about 8km in and actually an easy 8km at that. We arrived in the early afternoon and then spent the rest of the day playing on a sandbar and messing around in the mud. Then we had a fire and stayed up until 2am to watch the stars.
Other than that I have been busy doing more work related things. Some more patrolling and what we call “roving” (going to popular locations and talking with people about bears, horns and antlers etc.) The wildlife has quieted down since the first week but I still did see a mother with 2 cubs in a tree see pictures below.
Tomorrow I head out, along with my co-workers, on an all expenses paid trip to lake Louise for a conference for all “interpreters” from the rocky mountain parks.
Things are great and if this continues to be normal activity I will be very happy.
mother with 2 cubs sleeping in a tree. (the cubs look like birds nests)
My van while patrolling the Maligne lake road near medicine lake. This sheep was actually sleeping in the road and would not move until we used our secret hazing techniques (we shook our hi-vis vests at it :)
This week seems to have lasted for a very long time. Most likely due to training and just settling in. The cool thing is that I got to actually start doing some of what my job will actually be in the last couple days.
So I have been cruising around in our van and looking for wildlife then once we find it making sure that people are being safe around the animals and ensuring that there are no accidents on the road as well.
So far I have seen:
2 grizzlies (run across the same 2 about 5 times)
2 Black Bears
1 Mountain Goat
Countless Elk, Deer, big horn sheep and various small wildlife
The following are NOT my pictures but where given to my by a local photographer. This is the silver tip grizzly that we call Randy. Note his claws in Picture 2. And Picture 3 should answer the age old question “does a bear S@#$ in the woods?”
So many people have asked what my job is here in Jasper. Until today I was unable to give anyone an answer except for “I talk to people about animals.” However I had a very enlightening conversation with my supervisor today and I now have a good idea of what it is I do.
My job is to ensure the safety of both people and animals. I do this in two ways.
This is though “roves” or essentially when I go to high tourist areas and talk about animals and animal safety.
Hope this gives you a good idea of what it is I do. No pictures today again, spent the day in the office doing training and accidentally getting bear spray in my eye.
Quick post about my second day working with Parks Canada.
Today work included:
Thank you Canadian taxpayers.
p.s. I also went on a 5km hike and got a sunburn.
p.p.s. sorry no pictures today:(
So today was my first day of work in Jasper. So far it is amazing. Completely unorganized and unstructured, but amazing. The weather has been great, the people are super nice, there is wildlife everywhere, and my job is looking pretty awesome.
I don’t have much to say about what I am doing this summer yet but I will be dealing with animals and people and how the two interact with each other. If I knew more I would tell you.
For now I will just leave you with a couple pictures taken from around my house.