Bearly Surviving by Julius

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...

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...

Two Corners of the Old Empire

Even after half a lifetime spent in war-torn and battered places, the present corner of the British Empire that I now call home is a fairly ramshackle affair.Measuring approximately 300 yards by 400 yards, built on a base layer of rock and covered in dust...

Afghan Sojourn

Whichever way I look at it, I'm a long way from home, more than a dozen time zones away from our beloved snow-enveloped ranch. My journey started in late November with a two-day icy drive across British Columbia. The came a side trip to Estonia,...