Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Wild about Canada; Encounters with Wildlife, Colourful Lakes and Spectacular Mountains Make Summer in the Canadian Rockies Magical

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Wild about Canada; Encounters with Wildlife, Colourful Lakes and Spectacular Mountains Make Summer in the Canadian Rockies Magical

Article excerpt

Byline: WORDS: KIRI TEN DOLLE

An adolescent grizzly bear meanders through the wildflowers on the side of Bow Valley Parkway in the Canadian Rockies.

Suddenly traffic slows to a snail's pace about 10 cars deep as tourists try to catch a glimpse of the nonchalant bear. The locals call them 'bear jams'.

Some daring spectators even stand within metres of the bear with a camera their only defence.

Locals say it's only a matter of time before a tourist is hurt or even killed.

My husband refuses to leave the safety of the car.

He's already had one encounter with a black bear standing over him in a Canadian forest. Still rubbing the sleep from his eyes as he crawled from the tent, it was thankfully the byproduct of a hangover that scared the black bear off.

But this ball of grizzled fluff, a little over knee height, is unfazed. He scurries across the road to forage in the shade of the alpines.

A kilometre ahead, an adult male lures an another audience.

A man who lives nearby stops to take a photograph - he says he's lived in Alberta all his life yet this is the biggest bear he's seen.

It's a sight that attracts thousands of travellers to the grand shale and limestone peaks each summer.

Few are lucky, though the best vantage points are from the gondola at Lake Louise, in captivity or on a tour safari.

The wildlife is just one of the drawcards that make Canada's west coast a beauty to visit in the summer.

The seemingly endless carpet of fir trees and melting snowcaps flow into ethereal lakes leaving behind saw-tooth mountain ranges. There's no need for Instagram filters here.

In the heart of the Rockies and at the base of the Icefields Parkway is Banff, a small village bookended by snow-capped mountains.

For us, Banff is basecamp within a few hours' drive of the major attractions. The locals say the best way to see the landscape in all its glory is by car.

Banff is a melting pot of nationalities. More than 30 per cent of its population is made up of temporary visitors.

Travel brochures challenge you to witness the big five - elk, moose, deer, wolf and bear - but you almost need to add a sixth: a Canadian. …

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