“There is a bear around the bendâ€¦” ” There are a group of bears on the other side of the bridge”.
In the late afternoon vehicles stop to warn me about the many bears roaming the Stewart-Cassiar highway. I was already aware. I had seen many piles of their scat and knew bears were out in force.
What am I to do? I keep walking one hand on a large canister of bear spray the other grasping a bear blaster.
This is a long day. Up at 5 AM and start walking a warm-up outside of Smithers, British Columbia where I arrived by plane the previous night. Then I make the long drive to Bell 11 located north at the confluence of the Bell and Irving rivers. In 2009 I ended my last stage of this Dream Walk 67 kilometers north of Bell and will begin this year’s stage precisely at that point. I hope to be able to survive five weeks walking and reach to US border in the State of Washington north of the town of Diablo. Even with the long drive I manage to eke out 24 km walking.
Bell 11 is best known as a winter heli-ski resort popular with Europeans. Summer brings fishermen, scientists searching by helicopter for valuable minerals and a throng of tourists plying the Cassiar highway. Intrepid motorcyclists, traveling in bands of four of five stop for gas by few stay the night preferring to speed long distances along the Cassiar.