Bearly Surviving by Julius

Death of an Icon

She was the first wild grizzly bear that Kristin and I ever saw. As we came around a corner one October afternoon just over a decade ago she sat in the middle of a wide trail, so stuffed with apples she could barely move, under the...

Burn Pile

We put a lot of effort into revamping the ranch last year. Two new cabins, an extra floor on the main house, and a whole new power and water system. All in all it took eight carpenters and builders nearly five months. Then there was a...

A Grizzly Surprise

We can't remember a spring like it. It seems that every time we turn a corner we come across another bear. There is a grizzly mum with three yearling cubs that we have seen several times. It might just be the same family of bears we...

The Making of a Ski Bum – Part 2

As insular as our little world is in this idyllic corner of British Columbia, I realise, of course, that my great backcountry skiing venture - largely a retail event so far - is not exactly headline news. That accolade probably goes to Putin's homophobic extravaganza on...

The Making of a Ski Bum – Part 1

I had been mulling over the decision for weeks. It's not, after all, a small commitment to make. The skis are the least of it. All wood and pastels and go-faster stripes, you fork out several hundred bucks for them. Then come the boots. Great misshapen hunks of plastic...

Doggie Paddle

Who would ever have thought that the great white north, land of snow, ice and endless frozen tundra, could get so excruciatingly and relentlessly hot? As I write this I am stripped to the waist, sweltering in the shade, with two fans whirling above my head...

The Mountain Bug

 I've always been a bit wobbly with serious heights. I don't know when the phobia dates back to, but despite much time spent in mountainous countries, hours in small planes and several years now as a trekking guide in the sub-alpine and alpine, I still get...

Yo, Dude, Powder!

I must admit I had never really understood the fascination. In the Kootenays, where we live, as autumn turned each year to winter, it was if the locals fell under a sorcerer's spell, real enough to its victims, but inexplicable to the unaffected. The initiated were...

A Kootenay Winter

Arriving at the ranch in mid-winter, however much we steel ourselves ahead of time, is always a bit of a jaw-dropper. The silence and the remoteness at this time of year always impress, but it is the sheer volume of snow in our small mountain valley...

Rafting with Bears

Even at a distance its sculpted feline features were distinct. A roundish head, attentive ears and that unmistakable tail with a small black brush on the end. For 20 or 30 seconds, the huge cat just stood there watching us. And then slowly, slowly it...