Tag: Grizzly Bear

626. Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd June 2018. A day at a game farm and a drive back into Canada…

Lots of photos.

Thursday 21st June

Summer is having second thoughts about being in Washington State at this time of year. After discussions with winter they decided to share the day. The first half until midday belonged to Winter and the second half of the day is then shared between spring and summer.


Linda, Donnis, the children Jaxson and Emma and I went to Olympic Game Farm   https://olygamefarm.com/   in Sequim (Skwim) a bit over an hour away along some very scenic countryside with occasional lakes and views of the ocean. It began to rain and got colder but somehow by the time we arrived it remained fine and even turned into a near nice day.

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Peacocks were busy putting on a display all day.

This place looks a bit run down and cheap and nasty but somehow it all seems to work. Basically the grazing animals are free to roam throughout most of the park and you can feed them slices of bread purchased at the gate. You drive around the park in your own car. There are signs reminding you to keep doors and sunroofs closed and to keep fingers inside.

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Just trying to get through the first grid proved more difficult than anticipated. The Yak know that if they crowd the grid and do not move you will give them bread. After awhile you have no option other than to edge the car forward. The Yak will move.
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More Yak and a photographer.
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We are surrounded by Yak.

You are also reminded not to stop at the bisons.

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This big Bison was heading over to lick the front window before going to the rear window for bread. The signs said Do NOt Stop At The Bison. We did. We now know the reason for the sign.

There is a reason for that as bison will stop in front of the car while another sidles up from the side or even the rear.

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Their horns rub against the side view mirrors and their heads brush along the side of the car. Any fingers silly enough to be outside the window could get badly injured. Yeah, lots of signs to remind us the rules but it is not as if as if the bison can read. They know how to set up a roadblock and ambush you. We got mobbed by llama,

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They know when a window is open and where the food is.


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The Zebra and Llama all seemed too busy eating hay when we first drove by. Later they wanted bread.


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The car in front was hijacked by Yak. The driver was terrified to move forward.


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Reindeer and Bison


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Bigger Elk
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Those Elk horns were too large to allow them to put their head in the window.

peacocks – yes peacocks –

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Peacoks and for that matter, Peahens were everywhere. The must breed like rabbits. Oh and there were lots of rabbits too. They seem to hang around the cages occupied bt lions, tigers, cougars, bears and wolves.

and a bunch of other animals we are still trying to identify. The larger animals all managed to place their heads inside the open windows to the delight of Jaxson.

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Quick give me some bread I want to feed something.
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Oh. That was quick. Give me another slice.
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Com and get it Mr Bison.

Emma felt terrified when one large elk licked her and slobbered over Linda’s arm as she yelled at me to go, go, go.

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Yep! I am sure there is food in here somewhere. Can I come in?
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Holy Toledo Batman. This big Elk is gunna eat me.
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Naaah I aint gunna eat ya. I am just gunna lick your arm and drool all over ya face.

The park speed limit is 10MPH but the animals can easily maintain that speed and will happily walk beside the car with their head in the window.

Bears, which are also sort of grazers are in open grassed pens with the addition of a short wire fence and an electrified fence.

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Grizzly Bear.
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I get confused the Grizzly Bear and the Kodiak Bear look alike. Which one is this?

You can also throw bread to them but do not get out of the car.

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Hmmm! Am I a Grizzly? Or am I a Kodiak?
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The bear said, “that bread was stale. I am going to soften it in tye water.” and he did.

The other animals classed as animals of prey are kept in small enclosures. Lions, tigers, more bears,

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A couple of young…Kodiak Bears… were in a pen together and seemed to have lots of energy and used it playing with their toys and each other.They also loved going into this tub of water, rolling around and then running after each other.
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All wet and running around chasing the other young bear.

wolves, cougars, lynx and a bunch of others appear bored and pace around their small enclosures or simply sleep. Of the entire experience we really felt badly about these animals and their small enclosures with nothing to keep them occupied. Each enclosure is about half the size of an average house block. I would be bored walking around that all day. It was certainly a good rule you did not leave the car as technically the animals could escape but strangely the front gate was not a gate at all. An escaped animal could run straight through the open entrance.

In the afternoon we stopped at a wolf enclosure which also had a black bear pacing. Other wolf enclosures had groups of wolves nearby. The lone wolf climbed onto a high point and started a wolf howl. Soon the howl was taken up by the other wolves. This went on for some time then stopped suddenly.

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The primal Wolf howl had all the remaining Wolves in enclosures scattered around the park took up the call.

This entire area was once owned by Walt Disney Studios and many adventure type movies were filmed here on sound stages and within animal enclosures. In a large barn are some of the sets of wilderness cabins used in various movies are still in place along with posters and other memorabilia.

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Part of a film set, probably in the movie Grizzly Adams.
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Another Disney film set.

A small petting area which included a few billie goats and a very fat pig had children chasing animals to pet them.

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The Goat just lay there putting up with little kids all day.
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A real once upon a time log cabin. I guess any place out of the snow and wind would be better than nothing.

There was also a fresh water aquarium and a reptile room.

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I been sitting here for years and the sign tells people my name is IGGY. How embarrassing. IGGY the Iguana. Nothing original about that. I would rather they called me by my real name…SPIKEY..
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I dont eat any of the whole wheat bread you hand out to the Yak and Bison. Did you bring any dead flies or a few snails? Yeah, those spikes are mine and they are real but they are soft and not dangerous at all. However my claws and teeth are. Stop calling me IGGY.

Over all it was an interesting experience but honestly it gave the impression of being run down, short of money and not enough staff and certainly not enough room for some of the animals and not enough activities to keep those animals busy.

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This Zebra knew a sandwich was in here somewhere.

The amazing low entry fee…in our case $13 each…entitled us to an all day pass. We drove back through the grazing area but by now the animals were laying around sleeping except for a few who still wanted bread.

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Its afternoon nap time. It can get tiring walking up to cars and the people hand you slices of bread. We have to lay down to snooze and recover.

Even the bears were no longer interested in the bread except to dunk a slice in water.

It was an interesting experience.

On our way home we stopped briefly at a small pretty town called Port Gamble. It seems to be a typical American town of the 1950’s era. Complete with the usual USA flags and white picket fences.

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Entrance to Port Gamble.
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Main street of Port Gamble leading down to Squamish Harbour.
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Most of the short main street in Port Gamble is made of fancy restored houses like this.

Friday 22nd June

Today we drove back to Vancouver. Donnis has been unwell since yesterday morning. In fact I seem to have similar symptoms but she is not well at all. We brought Silver and Jaxson with us. Somehow Jaxsons passport was left behind and we had Emmas passport instead. The Canadian Border officer asked a lot of questions and it looked like we were facing a long drive back to Poulsbo for the passport. He directed us into a side holding area and instructed us to leave the car unlocked and walk inside the border control offices and wait to be called. We wondered about what might be the outcome but were pleasantly surprised when they told us to continue our journey. Perhaps Jason, at age 4 does not need a passport.

621. Sunday 10th June 2018, Calgary Zoo, family BBQ and a flight to Vancouver…

This post is back to the usual format of a full week but next week may be daily posts. It depends on what adventures come our way.

This is still a long post with lots of photos.

Monday 4th June 2018

So begins a new week here in Calgary. Donnis will be spending most of her days with her mum in the nursing home.

I am struggling with the tail end of the head cold and because of the dry climate when I blow my nose there is some blood. Yuk. Yes I know. Perhaps I did not need to tell you that. Just be aware that a dry climate can be disruptive to your sinuses. Joan has a humidifier which we need to put into our bedroom. Fingers crossed it helps me. I had no problems in Vancouver or PEI as they both have some humidity closer to what I am used to. Each morning when I wake, my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth. Donnis also has the same problem.

Any light exertion here in Calgary does not bother me as we are 1,045 m above sea level. However in the mountains around Golden and Kicking Horse the average height above sea level is 1,627 metres. Normal walking was OK but once there was an incline my breathing became laboured.

It is the beginning of summer but the nights and early mornings are cool to cold. When the sun does appear there is little warmth until almost midday.

Road workers carrying out maintenance as well as new projects are in full swing and there are barriers and Stop Slow people everywhere. Alberta is the corporate centre of the sand oil extraction industry. Alberta Province and particularly Calgary is in a financially healthy condition. There is an abundance of money. New buildings, new roads, new housing projects are very evident. All this work going on does contribute to traffic problems. That said, there is a bust side to the boom. Many sand oil jobs have been cut in recent months. The cost of a barrel of oil is around $60 at present. At one stage in 2016 it was as low as $26 a barrel. The loss of about 20,000 jobs in the last 12 months has meant the bottom has fallen out of the real estate market. Houses are sitting, For Sale for 12 months with no buyers. Part of the problem has been the boom when houses in new estates were being offered at the same or lesser price than an established house. (Hmmm. Sounds like the Airlie Beach real estate market)

The Province of Alberta is rich in a natural resource – sand oil. At present the oil is exported to other Provinces and more particularly to the USA. That oil is sent to market in BC and the port of Vancouver by miles and miles of railway tankers.  Alberta wants to build a CAN$7.4 billion pipeline through the Province of British Columbia to Vancouver. The pipeline would deliver many benefits to BC including reduced fuel costs. Today a litre of unleaded in Alberta is on average $1.20.3. In BC that same litre of fuel is $1.57.7 on average. So BC residents are paying roughly an additional 30 cents per litre for fuel. The BC Government has voted NO to the pipeline but demanded the oil be landed in Vancouver for the same price as Alberta despite having to be shipped hundreds of Klms by rail. Not surprisingly, there is a heated two Province disagreement which does not appear will be resolved easily. Jobs and economic benefit versus environmental concerns is no different here than it is in Australia where the argument is about coal extraction and shipping. Two sides with equally good arguments with no winners.

Today I accompanied Joan on a shopping excursion to Costco. That was an experience, sort of like watching Walmart people videos. Costco people are different. It seems going to Costco is a family event. Mum, Dad and three kids, at least one in a pram. Family groups are everywhere. After shopping they all gather at the food court area where you can have lots of food for only a few dollars (plus tax). Most of the food is high carbs, high cheese content, deep fried and highly processed. Hot dogs, giant size, sell for $1.50 while a large coffee is $1.99. Coffee comes in one size – large. A slice of pizza, as large as a regular pizza is $1.99. Mostly, it seems, the people eating here are overweight.

In the food department everything is in wholesale lots. If you want a can of mushroom soup you need to buy a carton of 12. Want cereal? It is only available in a box of a minimum of two bags. A kilo of minced meat, you have to buy a package which contains 2 x 1 kg bags.

A single person or a couple would probably spend more than they save.

However there are some items which are well priced. A pre- packaged Caesar salad at least three times larger than you can buy at Woollies or Coles in Australia for $5 at Costco is $8.99. (later when we opened the salad I changed my opinion. The Costco salad was terrible. There were no bacon pieces and the lettuce leaves were all stems.)

Shopping at Costco, especially the one we visited at Heritage Gate, which is the busiest store in Canada, is organised chaos. Staff, and there is lots of staff, are friendly and helpful. They are constantly picking up things like clothing which customers just drop on the floor. For those who do not shop at Costco be aware you need to be a member with a photo id card to gain entry. Guests must be accompanied by the member and guests cannot buy under their own name.

Tuesday 5th June

Another lay day for me, while it was a look after mum day for Donnis. After dinner we drove to the airport to meet Alecia who has flown in from the oil fields for a few days.

Wednesday 6th June

Tonight I fired up the BBQ and we invited Simone and Lazar for dinner. Joan had bought some Short Loin Lamb Chops from…Costco…imported from Australia (lamb is an expensive luxury in Canada). Alecia made a rub of butter and Rosemary. I cooked some huge sweet potatoes on the BBQ until the skin blackened and juices began to seep out and veggie kebabs on the BBQ and set them aside while I quickly seared the chops in the flames created by the melting butter. I reduced the heat and slowly cooked the chops until juices began to flow. I let them rest until the table was set. All were impressed at how the meat was pink, juicy and tender and the sweet potato just slipped out of the blackened skin. Better than throwing a shrimp on the barbie any day.

Friday 8th June

Today we took Donnis for a Chiropractic appointment. Alecia and I went for a drive. We saw a huge Church of Latter Day Saints – Mormon – High on a hill overlooking Calgary.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints_in_Canada

080618 mormomThe church and grounds are very well maintained, almost picture perfect. Compared to most other churches it really stands out as an example of wealth.080618 mormom1080618 calgary-alberta-temple-lds-1058967-wallpaper

Afterwards we joined Simone, Andrea, baby Evan and young Miles for a day at Calgary Zoo.

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Initially I was somewhat disappointed in what I thought was a small number of animals. 080618 zoo023The enclosures are large and roomy and many are set up to take into account the climactic conditions the animals would encounter.

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The eyelids on Giraffe always make them look serene.

Photography was often difficult as viewing chambers were partitioned with glass which is often scratched, smudged, dirty and reflects other images.

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One of the first exhibits we saw on arrival were the penguins. The waterway runs through the rocks to an indoor facility which has subdued lighting plus snow and ice all around . The penguins all seem well fed and happy. I guess there are no seals, walrusses, birds of prey or other creatures trying to turn a penguin into a light meal.
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Inside the penguin enclosure is this large poster displaying some of the things which are happening due to climate change.

The zoo is divided in various themes such as Canadian, African, Asia, South America and even Dinosaurs. The Canadian section includes both Grizzly

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Grizzly Bear. Just take a look at those claws. Volunteers walk around the zoo giving little talks on various animals. They showed us a claw from a grizzly and compared it to a Black Bear. The Grizzly claws are much larger…all the better to dig with…or slice open an enemy. They cannot climb trees. Black Bears with smaller claws can climb trees. I guess you first need to determine if you are being threatened by a Grizzly or a Black. If its a Grizzly you can climb a tree to safety. If its a Black Bear then you need a different escape plan.

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and Black bears,

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An Albino, White, Black Bear. Which sort of looks like a Polar Bear but isn’t. There are no Polar Bears on display at Calgary Zoo.

Moose, Bison, Mountain Sheep

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This fine specimen of what I woud have called a Muntain Sheep or even Mountain Goats is in reality a Dall’s Sheep. Same thing really. Yes it looks like a stuffed animal but it is alive and breathing surveying its limited territory about the size of three or four average house lots.

and goats of various species and even a Rocky Mountain Cougar.

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This Cougar in its den (another animal you need to be aware of when hiking along forest trails in Canada) was watching the attendant cleaning another part of its enclosure. There was a fence between them which can be re-opened once the cleaning is finished.

Some animals, such as the Lemurs have a large almost interactive enclosure.

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Entry is gained via a heavily gated enclosure and a bridge. An area is loosely roped off but the Lemurs are free to walk amongst visitors although crouching down to their head height or trying to pat them is actively discouraged.  Wisely the Lemurs keep their distance from humans.

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Everybodies favourite, the Meerkat.

About 5 years ago I visited the Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo NSW and one of the animals which fascinated me was the Hippopotamus.

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There they had a large enclosure including areas of a couple of hectares to waddle around and a huge waterhole to do what Hippos do best. I was able to photograph a Hippo with its mouth wide open. Here the Hippos seemed to want to sleep a little and swim a little. 080618 zoo020Their water hole was not all that large but was enclosed on one side by a glass wall. I guess the idea is to see the Hippo underwater although in this case the glass was covered with algae on the inside. Hippos defecate in the water and their little tail acts like a propeller to break up the solid matter in the water. The water here is murky, I guess there is a lot of fecal matter in suspension.

The butterfly atrium was a sort of habitat for butterflies as well as a display of mostly tropical plants. 080618 zoo014The high glass domed green house had misters set in the roof as well as around the walls. It certainly gave the display a real humid tropical feel.

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Donnis Alecia and Andrea.

One of the plants which appealed to me was the giant water lilly, Victoria Amazonica.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_(plant)

These plants are at least a metre in diameter and the spikey side walls remind me of the spikes on pitcher plants.

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Giant Lilly Pads

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Although the butterflies live in a protected environment they still have mishaps and still only have a limited life span. Often their fragile wings are damaged yet they still fly around with grace.080618 zoo015080618 zoo018

The Panda enclosure was large, roofed and noisy with hundreds of kids squealing at the sleeping Pandas. Honestly that is all they did…sleep. Even 4 year old Miles wanted to leave the Panda enclosure because of the noise of other children.

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These giant Panda’s are well known for sleeping. They performed at their chosen activity today.

Late in the day we went into the Gorilla complex although the large male Silverback died two years ago. A young male has now been placed in the enclosure

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Young male Gorilla.

and I was fortunate to see a mother with a baby clutched in her arms as she lay in a den like shelter under a large fallen tree.

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Mumma Gorilla with baby wrapped in her arms.

Nearby was the African Mandrill the largest monkey species and considered Old World Monkeys. Their large sharp teeth look threatening although, apparently showing the teeth is a welcoming gesture. I am not willing to give that theory a try. Mandrills look both threatening and majestic at the same time.

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The Old World Monkey…Mandrill.
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“Just a Taste” sculpture.
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Flamingos flock together and seem to take turns being lookouts, sleeping, eating or drinking.
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The fat and relatively slow moving Komodo Dragon. Like several other species which normally live in a hotter more humid environment, their enclosure is micro environment temperature and humidity controlled.

Saturday 9th June

A final BBQ hosted by Andrea and Brett at their home in, coincidentally, Queensland Street.

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Back Row Joan, Donnis, Miles, Simone, Lazar, Brett Front Row Alecia, Andrea
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Andrea is replaced by Frank and Leo the dog makes an appearance.

Sunday 10th June

We flew from Calgary on a wet and cold, miserable, grey day, to sunny Vancouver. The original plan was Doug and Linda would pick us up from the airport and drive to the marina where we would meet Fred and Peggy and take a cruise up the Fraser River in Fred’s recently re-furbished motor cruiser. Imagine our surprise when we were met by Fred standing inside the airport. It seems Linda had rushed Doug to the hospital with Atrial Fibrillation. Peggy was waiting a few blocks away with the car. Fred and Peggy had driven all the way from White Rock, almost 50 Klms away. An hour later we were further surprised when Doug and Linda walked in the front door. Doug had had his tests, was feeling fine and would have the results in a few days.

Even after only a few hours my sinuses are already responding to the higher humidity, sea level and even some sea spray. My breathing is much better.

So ends our 6th week away from home.