Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Riding the Cowichan Valley Trail 2: Was it or Wasn't it?

Was it or wasn’t it a bear?  Yesterday was our second time riding our bicycles on the Cowichan Valley Trail and it turned out to be a bit exciting.  First we followed the route west towards Lake Cowichan again, this time going farther than before.  As we rode past the farms and entered more heavily forested area, I grew a little uncomfortable going further that way.  We had travelled 5 km along this road, so we headed back to the parking lot and decided to cross the highway and go east on the same trail.  And that is when the trip became kind of scary.

This part of the trail is very peaceful, there is a stream at the side of the trail down an embankment and it sounded lovely riding beside it.  About 1 km along the trail we came to a forested cul-de-sac and stopped to decide if we wanted to go farther.  By this time having traveled 11 km in total, I was getting a bit tired.  As we stood there, I heard a low throaty growl, not a dog.  Didn’t see anything but I told my husband I wanted to head back and he told me that he had heard a growl, I had not told him that I did.  So we mounted our bikes and as we started back I could smell a strong animal odor.  I was nervous riding behind my husband so I kept calling him and asking me if there was anything behind me as we rode back to the parking lot.

We could not say for sure what animal had made that sound but today we decided to buy rear-view mirrors for our bikes, so we went to the bike store where we had purchased our bikes and asked the fellow if they sold rear-view mirrors.  I expected him to chuckle but he went right to them.  I told him that thus far we had just travelled the Cowichan Valley Trail and didn’t mention our experience of the day before, but he spoke right up and said “there are bears on that trail”..  Good grief, that is what I did not want to hear.  So we asked him where they were and he said that someone had seen a black bear on the Sherman Road section, and that is exactly where we heard the sound the day before.

So was it or wasn’t it a bear?  I do not know for certain but it is not going to keep us from riding this trail.  I have a personal alarm which is extremely loud and I think that it would deter any bear.  At least this time of year there is lots of Spring grasses for them to eat.   Hopefully we will not see a cougar or a wolf.

It will be more comforting being able to see what is behind me now.  Nevertheless, I wonder what future rides will bring?

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