I’ll never forget our ranger’s welcome to the Jasper campground. There was 1, possibly 2 grizzlies in the campsite that had taken down two elk calves in the last 2 days. Be careful.
Um, ok…so we shouldn’t pop the top (in Banff canvass-sided campers were not allowed)? Oh, that’s fine- there was a group of high school students in tents occupying the group campsites. Still, no one in our clan was keen on sleeping up top that night.
While the bears were our worry, the elk is who really pose the problem. Female elk leave their group to birth, and hide their babies in the vegetation until they are able to walk and keep up with the group. The mothers are extremely aggressive while looking out for their young. But in our campsite, the bears are watching for said young and have developed a taste for them.
From our campsite, we hear a commotion. A strange scream and cry. My first instinct is to grab the camera and investigate, but Bode is watching a movie and not interested in moving. Normally, no big deal, but this seemed different. We locked him in the bus and walked up to the action. One park ranger carrying a surprisingly small elk calf , followed by about 5 rangers waving sticks with red pom-poms trying to scare away about 4 charging elk. All rangers were walking backwards. All adult elk were very angry.
We later learned the baby elk was born about 10 campsites from us, and that the grizzly was spotted not far from there. It is common to remove the elk from the campsite area. It’s unclear whether it is for the safely of the humans, the elk or both. Regardless, it was one of the strangest animal rescues we’ve seen, but I guess we were glad that the bears wouldn’t be feasting near us.
The next day was rainy and cold and we were long overdue for laundry, a good coffee, wifi, and pizza. But the town itself was nice. Definitely touristy, but less so than Banff.
Later, we drove out to Maligne Canyon for a ranger talk on bears and a hike above a really cool canyon. In the winter, you can hike below on the iced over river. Then we drove out to the lake- and right on cue when we were pulling over for a break were a momma bear and two cubs munching on the dandelions on the lakeshore. Pretty incredible stuff.