We locked eyes not once but twice. And then I bolted. I’d been looking out at a wave breaking over a rock in a beautiful section of Kejimkujik National Park Seaside. It was a peaceful and Zen-like coastal scene with nary a soul around. I could have stopped and watched the waves breaking for hours.
At the same spot where I was standing were the ruins of a former shepherd’s shelter. I turned around and read the blurb about them but it wasn’t until I got my camera out to take a picture of the wave that I noticed her. A big, beautiful black bear and her two cubs. And no I don’t have any proof – just the memory of my thumping heart.
I was all alone. It was about ten in the morning and there wasn’t another car in the Kejimkujik parking lot when I pulled in. I in fact had congratulated myself of having the place to myself.
Much of the hiking in Kejimkujik National Park Seaside is superb. I loved the desolate beauty of the place – wild flowers galore including the orchids pictured above that I’d never seen before, rocky beaches, stunted trees and spectacular ocean vistas.
I had planned to hike about a kilometre out to the start of a 5.5 kilometre loop hike, do it and then call it a day. I was about 80% done with the loop – making good time even with lots of photo stops.
Bears in Kejimkujik National Park
I should have known something was up. I saw bear scat – fresh too – but mistook it for a dog and figured someone had walked rather then driven in with their dog to hike the trail.
The scat didn’t have any berries in it – as it wasn’t berry season – and looked pretty darn pebbly if you want to inspect the picture. The scat should have been obvious clue #1.
There was a section of boardwalk I hiked – and I thought it was rather strange that all the ferns coming out through the cracks were torn and beaten up. I actually made some noise through here – just in case. Well duh.
If I’d put two and two together I would have known I was about 15 minutes behind the bears. Sometimes ignorance is bliss – and I continued to snap pictures – rather lovely don’t you think?
It was at the ruins of the shepherd shelter (photo below) that we eyed each other. I backed away and in fact ducked behind the shelter to see if I could get a quick shot. She was still staring at me. That’s when I decided I was out of there and there was no time for a picture.
You’re not supposed to let a bear see you running – and I didn’t but as soon as I turned the corner and was hidden from view I ran with everything I had in me. I put many kilometres between she and I before I slowed down to a normal walking pace. For the first 15-20 minutes I glanced back every few seconds. I also picked up a few pieces of driftwood to make myself look larger.
Since I’m writing this blog I obviously survived. In fact I ran into four people on the return and warned them. At that point I had some peace of mind because they were now between the bear and I ….unless she completed the loop and started back in my direction.
Useful park information
- Kejimkujik National Park Seaside is roughly 185 kilometres west of Halifax.
- Entrance is free.
- No camping is allowed.
- Facilities are basic – a washroom, a phone and some maps.
- It’s bear country obviously so travel with others and bring along a can of bear spray. If you see fresh scat make a lot of noise!
- Check out the national park website for more information on the park.
Further reading on things to do in Nova Scotia
- Kayaking the World’s Highest Tides in the Cape Chignecto Area
- 45 Random Observations About Nova Scotia
- Visiting Nova Scotia: Don’t Miss Peggy’s Cove
- One of Nova Scotia’s Great Day Hikes: The Hike to Cape Split
- A Phenomenal Kayaking Trip Near Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia
- A 3 Day Hike on the Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail
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