Today, because a few people have asked, a brief explanation of why I needed to pack some bear spray with me to a recent bike race. Actually, as far as racing goes, bringing spray was a first for me; we have carried it on hikes, however, because that's the 'nature' of where we live, just outside Banff National Park. At any given time, we "know" we share our space with critters; seeing elk herds along the highway, or even in town, taking up residence on green-ways (and leaving evidence of their presence, if you know what I mean), is common. Deer springing from the trees is also a regular sight, but because they're so skittish, we're treated to quick glimpses before they vanish into the trees. Deer are harmless; the elk are temperamental. When I've seen them along my walks up Silvertip, which is a windy road to a swanky golf course (I'm not a golfer; the route is just part of my occasional 'work outs'), I give them wide berth. They're big, with antlers...I do not want to be stomped or butted by an elk. Graceful, elegant, and not to be trusted.
Of course, along with the herbivores, we also have the companionship of bears and cougars, both of which I respect and consider stunning creatures. They also scare the bejeebers out of me. At this time of year, the bears spend time in the lower parts of the valley, searching for berries and whatever else they feel a need to snack on. They don't often come into town, although on occasion, a brazen bruin may decide to do a cruise through, to see what kinds of tummy treats are available to nibble on. Often, at first sighting, the park rangers are called, and Mr. or Mrs. Bear is removed from the premises and released into the wild. Habituated bears are a danger: to themselves and to us. Sadly, a few over the past couple of years have fallen victim to train and car accidents.
Anyway, the mountain bike race we attended - I don't race, but am an official, or rather, a commissaire - took place in a provincial park, filled with forest trails. A couple of bears have been sited in the area; one a grizzly, the other a black bear. Even though they're truly not interested in us, no one wants to take a chance of surprising them when they're ambling on, being all bear-like. They can run fast...and I don't think teddy-bear picnics are something we'd like to be invited to. So, to ensure our 'safety,' the Park implemented rules mandating that any 'organized' event requires everyone involved to carry bear spray; aka 'pepper' spray, which looks like this:
Based on the ruckus we were causing, I suspect the bears were well hidden from the commotion, however, at a couple points, one of the volunteers was bringing lunch up to other volunteers who were stationed along the course route. The aroma of barbecued sausages, I'm sure, was a temptation... Fortunately, the bike races this week - a four day event - my husband is the Chief Commissaire (he won't be racing this event) and I'm a commisssaire at just a couple of the races - takes place fully in town. Bear spray not required. Whew!
Anyway, there it is...I live in a wild life corridor. I do not trek trails on my own. Crafting indoors is a very good thing!!
Okay, on to my card, inspired by the oh-so-cool and classy card created by the talented Pamela Ho, and showecased over at Case Study #194,
Seize the Birthday is also a destination:
Oh look what I did...another butterfly...*grin*. My panel is popped up, but I couldn't get a proper angle shot to show you that, or its sparkle. The black with the colour is quite pretty...