by Charlotte from Switzerland
Before coming to Canada for my exchange year, I had done some research on Canadian wildlife. I had read about the various animals in Fernie, the small town where I would be spending five months. My knowledge included mentions of deer, mice, and bears, among others. However, I soon realized that there were many more animals in the area than I had initially thought.
I had been particularly concerned about encountering bears due to some unsettling stories I had read online. My assumption was that bears would generally avoid towns and stay in more remote areas. However, I was mistaken. It didn't take long for me to see bear for the first time, and it was an intimidating experience.
I got told very quickly that this was bear season, a time when bears come into town to search food so they can prepare for their long winter hibernation. The first time I saw a bear was on a late Friday afternoon. I was with a friend at another friend's house, and on our way back home, we decided to walk along the river. It was during this walk that a bear suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Fortunately, we spotted the bear in advance, as he was hiding in the tall grass just a few meters from the road. The bear would occasionally stand up, allowing us to get a better look at it. The whole experience was incredibly surreal, and at that moment, I truly felt like I had arrived in Canada.
Not long after this encounter, I saw a bear again sitting in an apple tree.
Photo and blog post submitted by Charlotte, a grade 11 student at Fernie Secondary School.