Monday, April 30, 2012

Waking Up in a New Town

Little bear slept pretty well last night... the couch was comfy! And his sleeping toque bag was nice and warm... He didn't get scared at being in a strange place... but of course, he had a little buddy to keep him company... a Pooh-Bear! Which means little bear woke up with a smile on his face (he usually does)...

But when little bear crawled out of his sleeping bag, he realized that he had also been tucked into a set of pajamas without his knowledge! Little bear wasn't too sure about the blue pants... but did like the the top!

Ah little bear... that's what you get for passing out from tiredness... At least someone didn't shave off his eyebrows (does little bear have eyebrows?). Anyhow, after getting out of his pajamas, little bear was ready to hit the road and explore this new place. But... the first problem was... he was traveling in a different vehicle which did not have a convenient cup-holder for him to perch on...

Little bear was disappointed but then after pushing various buttons on the stereo system... he ejected the CD and... well... what a perfect platform for little bear! He doesn't weigh much... and his boots were clean...

Ah little bear... so inventive! So demanding! Even though he's not navigating today... he's gotten used to having a view over the dash... The rest of us will just have to do without music to accommodate little bear...

It will be interesting to see what little bear discovers today...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sleep Over on a Friend's Couch

Well... there we go... the end of Day 1 of the road trip (little bear has had lots of adventures during the course of the day (so many, he couldn't post about them all at once)... Suffice to say, little bear is a tired little bear. A long drive (almost 10 hours) and he is pooped!

Little bear has stayed in hotels before but today... he gets to crash on a friend's couch. He's a little too tired to really pay much attention to what is going on, and just curls up into his sleeping bag (a toque), turns his back (not rudely) and starts quietly snoring. Poor little bear... so tired! But he better get lots of rest as there is another long day tomorrow!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

First Sign of Spring?

Little bear has been patiently waiting for the first hint of spring. Over the kilometres, whenever there was a rest break, little bear was out of the car and checking out the tree branches.

Does this tree show any hint of spring? Little bear isn't too sure. There are definitely funny little buds at the ends of the branches, but they aren't really doing anything... other than being buds.

And many 100's of kilometres later, little bear is still looking for some hint of spring... the tree buds still aren't doing much!

But now... what is this? What is this green stuff coming out of the ground?? They are almost exactly the same shade of green as little bear's coat! And they are everywhere... oh little bear... he's pretty excited over this... He is so used to the drab browns and greys and tans of winter, that he's not quite sure what to make of this wonderful new colour... And this grass is tender... and smells oh so good!

A little farther along and little bear comes across some big, fat pus... er... bear nose willow! These ones are much bigger than the ones back home in flatland.... plus, there is something different happening with these. They aren't just grey, they are also showing hints of yellow and red.... whoaa!! More colours...

Little bear is very excited... if spring means colours... he's all for that! Christmas was a very colourful time inside... but outside has been so... drab... and little bear just thought that was the way things were. But he's starting to learn that something different is possible. Which is a good lesson for us as well... just because things have been one way for a very long time, doesn't mean things can't be different!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Mighty River?

Little bear knows rivers... or at least he thinks he does. He has his little river back home, which he thinks is actually quite a big river because you need a bridge to cross it! But today little bear came across another river.

This river is called the Fraser River... and the sign said, "World's Greatest Salmon River", so little bear got all excited and went down to take a look.

Suffice to say, little bear was a tad disappointed! "THIS was the world' greatest salmon river? Give me a break!" It was barely bigger than his river back home. Little bear could actually see the bottom and there were definitely no fish in it! "Hmmph!" was little bear's comment.

But then... little bear drove farther west and crossed the Fraser River again and... well, it was looking quite a bit bigger at this point... and deeper... and there might be fish here. "Hmmm..." was little bear's comment.

And yet farther west, little bear stood on the banks of the Fraser River and realized he had seriously misjudged the river based on first meeting. The Fraser River was BIG!! And cloudy and deep and little bear could definitely imagine big fish here! Mind you Little bear couldn't even imagine what it might look like when it met the ocean... whoooaa....

Which is a good lesson for us as well... not to judge things or people upon first meeting... Don't judge a river by its depth.... don't judge a book by its cover... don't judge a bear by its clothing!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sing-a-long...(or Hum-a-long)

Well, here we go... little bear is ready to head west (he's been headed more north than west so far). After another look at the map (just to make sure he doesn't head east), little bear is ready for the next leg of the journey.

He climbs back into his navigator's spot... ah yes... little bear wasn't content to just sit in the car seat like other bears... noooo... little bear very quickly decided that if he was going to be navigator, he needed to see the road. After a bit of experimentation, little bear discovered that the double cup holder would serve as a perfect base!

He felt relatively secure in there... and even better, he could see over the dashboard! Ah, little bear... we won't tell him about seatbelts... hopefully no police officer will see his little head sticking up over the dash and pull the vehicle over for a seat belt infraction!

When there wasn't a lot of navigation to do... or the road was boring (which it can be)... little bear engaged in the age-old practice of... "make-the-miles-go-by-quicker-by-singing-along-to-the-music"... Little bear doesn't know all of the words, but hums along very happily to the classic tunes of ABBA!
Little bear hums along to ABBA

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bear Heaven

Well, little bear's navigational skills are exceptional! He managed to navigate all the way through the worst part of the mountains. Little bear wanted to do a bit of site-seeing after all of that... and discovered that he was in bear heaven. There were bears everywhere (not life ones mind you... that might be a bit scary).
Little bear met totem pole bear holding a dragon fly (and a little bear). He's never seen a totem pole before so was amazed when he learned that it had been cut from one tree! Trees can grow that big? Remember, little bear only knows scrubby trees from the flatlands.
Then little bear learned that there were different types of bears... and that the official bear of this park is a grizzly bear, but there are also black bears, brown bears, kodiak bears, kermode bears, polar bears, koala bears, panda bears along with bearista bears (of course).
  Although little bear didn't actually get to meet the bear mascot called Jasper, he did find another bear to pose with... And even better... he found another postcard to add to his collection. So far he has postcards of Paddington Bear (from London) and a grizzly bear... Two is a collection, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bear Falls

No mountain adventure would be complete without a visit to a waterfall! Little bear was very excited to see a real, live waterfall (a world-famous one too). He knows his little river back home fairly well, but it's a sedate river and doesn't do much except flow and burble around a few rocks.

Little bear took at look at the interpretive signs first... because that's what one does when one's a tourist bear. After fully acquainting himself with the waterfall... little bear followed the map to go and see the falls. But little bear is rather short (that's why he's called "little" bear)... so he couldn't really see much from his vantage point. He decided to climb up the chain link fence to get a better view... and found himself nose to nose with a sign that banned fence climbing... oops!!

Along the way, little bear saw another one of those bear proof garbage cans, but this one actually had a picture of a bear on it! The sign also said "Keep bears wild. Use this bear-proof garbage bin". Little bear's not too sure what "keeping bears wild" has to do with garbage cans though... He learns that bears like to dig in human garbage and eat the leftovers. All little bear can say to that is "ewwww"!!!

Finally, little bear makes it to the falls and well... he's a bit disappointed. The gorge is very impressive. The blue colour of the water is very pretty. But the falls are pretty much frozen over. He can hear the water, and see it flowing into the top end of the falls and flowing out the bottom end of the falls but... nothing in between. These falls don't look anything like the interpretive sign. Little bear is all set to write to the Parks department and claim false-advertising... but he learns that winter is a slow time at the falls... spring and summer would be a better time to come.

Little bear is beginning to think that he might need to do another road trip in the spring or summer... to see the glacier... to see the waterfalls... and maybe even to see some real live bears! Oooohhh....

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bear in need of a Break...

Little bear knew it was going to happen at some point... he needed a bathroom break... and badly! Now, he's had some bad experiences with locked seasonal outhouses back in flatland... so he wasn't holding his breath about finding an available outhouse up at the top of the world.

But... little bear decided to give it a try. The signs said "Rest Area"... and so he scampered off to the outhouse. If it was locked... well... he had his little doggie-doo-doo bag tucked in his jacket, so he could always hunker down behind the outhouse and clean up after himself!

What a surprise! The outhouse was actually unlocked and open! My goodness... surrounded by 4 feet of snow and not a padlock in sight. Little bear was grateful and pushed open the door before turning back to the camera operator with a very firm "No Cameras"!

Mind you... when he finally did emerge, he looked a little green around the edges (and not just his coat). Outhouses are stinky places!! Even in the wintertime. Poor little bear... he's got a sensitive nose...

(Green bear)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

At the Top of the World (almost)...

Little bear finds himself going farther and farther into the mountains. And higher and higher up the mountains as well! Curving roads... steep valleys... more snow... less snow... more snow... tonnes of trees... and no sign of civilization! Oohh... little bear now understands all the pre-trip vehicle preparations... you wouldn't want to get a flat tire out here.

The trees are slowly disappearing, getting smaller and more stunted... and the road is climbing and climbing and climbing... the snow is getting deeper and deeper. Either side of the road is now a wall of snow... Little bear's eyes are big and wide... he's never seen this much snow before!

And then... the road flattens off and little bear sees a vista of snow and rock and more snow and rock, with the occasional stunted tree... we are here... at the top of the world (almost). At least that's how it seems to little bear. And off in the distance is the glacier, road impassible due to snow... but little bear wants his picture taken anyhow.

It's cold and windy and little bear topples over a few times in the wind gusts... brrr... maybe little bear needs an extra winter coat for this sort of adventure! But then he sees something else that is very interesting and toddles over for a look.

What is this? Columns of ice hanging off of a very tall snowbank. For all that little bear has experienced a lot of winter... he has never seen icicles before! He's tempted to lick them but is warned that his little tongue could stick to the icicle... nope, not interested in that at all!

Little bear also sees a gargage can (bear-proof of course)... but even if it wasn't bear-proof, he'd still have trouble using it because it is deeply buried in snow. Little bear wonders if we'll ever get to spring... because at this point, we're going back to the depths of winter... not forwards to spring! Patience little bear....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bear in the Mountains

Little bear isn't too sure about this mountain thing. He only knows the relatively flat, relatively treeless expanses of the prairies. Mountains are something that he has trouble picturing... "Bigger than the buildings in London" doesn't help him much!

Bear of the flatlands
As he heads west, all little bear can see at first is a smudge on the horizon which... could be clouds... could be smoke... could be wishful thinking!

Smudgy clouds/mountains
But as he gets closer, little bear sees jagged mountains with snow and ice and rock! But they don't look all that big at this stage (little bear hasn't quite figured out the the whole distance vs. size thing).

A bit farther and little bear's mouth is hanging open... whoaaa... those mountains are growing by the minute! Little bear hasn't ever seen anything like this before. 
Little bear wants his picture taken with the mountains (of course), just so he can show his friends back home. But now he is a bit worried... how are they going to get through those mountains? They look pretty impenetrable from here...
Little bear learns that there are things called "mountain passes" through which we can drive... But he also learns that mountain passes are usually high up in the mountains which means he will see more snow before he gets to that mysterious thing called "spring"!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Leaving on a... Road Trip!

Today's the day! Oh boy... little bear is all packed... the vehicle is all packed... Now there's just a visit to the gas station and then... little bear is headed west!

Although little bear wants to help pump the gas, he learns that his fur could create static electricity (he knows all about that)... and that would not be good... so he patiently waits in the vehicle, staring at the map and preparing to be... the Great Navigator!

He just runs into one tiny little snag... how to fold the road map back up again!! Ahhh!! Poor little bear... this is a very old map with worn out folds what have split and... well... let's just little bear gets himself into quite a tangle with this map!

Of course, supplies are also required for a road trip, and little bear discovers that typical Road Trip supplies consist of: drink, chocolate and crunchies! Usually it would be Cola, Chocolate and Cheezies... but today it's Water, Chocolate and Cheezies! We don't want to introduce little bear to carbonated caffeine drinks at his tender young age...

Today will be a very long day... almost 9 hours of driving... not to mention stops along the way! (Plus another 7 hours the next day) Little bear is going to see a lot of new things! 
  • Mountains - which are taller than the towers in London (hard to imagine!)
  • Glaciers - hard to describe to little bear at this point... He thinks he knows all about snow and ice!
  • Rivers - little bear scoffs at this, since he's already seen a river near his home (think bigger, little bear!)
  • Trees - not the scrubby trees of the Prairies... no, these will be real trees! - again, little bear is perplexed by this notion...
  • Spring - yup, little bear is going to fast forward into Spring - now THAT has him excited! He's heard so much about spring... wait til he sees the real thing!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Road Trip!

Little bear is going on a road trip! Although he's flown very, very far away (London, England), he's never be on a real road trip. He's pretty excited!! Although he would love to be pilot (driver), little bear realizes that his little legs wouldn't be able to reach the pedals... so he settles for being Navigator (which is an honourable role as well).

Prior to leaving on this road trip, little bear learns that a pre-trip vehicle inspection needs to be done. He's all into that!

The first thing is to check the air in the tires. Little bear helps with that and determines that one tire is low on air, so that will have to get filled up.

The second thing to check is the windshield washer fluid. With a bit of help, little bear takes a look and figures that it's probably good for now, but better to bring a full container along, just in case!

And finally, little bear performs an under-the-body vehicle inspection. He's the perfect height to walk around and check out all of the thingies under the vehicle. Once he gets over how much rust is under there, little bear reports back that everything looks good!

Now, little bear is going to have to prepare himself for the trip... he'd better take a crash course in map-reading.. and figure out how to give directions. Little bear is learning that there's a lot involved in going on a road trip! Plus, little bear still needs to pack!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Up is Always Easier...

Today little bear learned a very valuable lesson... one that will hopefully stand him in good stead in the future. He learned that while trees may look very appealing... it is always easier to go up a tree than to come down a tree. Just ask any number of cats!! Mind you, although little bear does live with two feline friends, they are indoor cats, so can't actually advise him on the dangers of tree climbing...

So he had to find out for himself. He was walking along a new trail when he saw this very appealing leaning tree... oh so appealing... It looked so easy to climb... and he'd get such a great view from up there! So off he went... and it was so easy to climb up on his paws and paws (little bear doesn't have hands and knees to climb on).

And then... when he was a good 7 feet off the ground he realized how far he had come... and that he was in a predicament! He wasn't sure that he wanted to go higher... and yet he also realized that going down was going to present some major difficulties! He couldn't really see where to place his paws... he couldn't really navigate all that well... Oh little bear...

So he hung on for dear life and then stuck out his little arm and asked for help! When in doubt... call a friend! Little bear has learned that lesson before - when he gets in a pickle, all he needs to do is call a friend. But he also needs to make sure that a friend is within calling range!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bear Den?

Little bear, as we know, is on the hunt for a place to live. We're not sure why he feels this urge to leave move... but maybe he knows something we don't know! Suffice to say that accompanying little bear on a walk is an exercise in patience. Little bear is continually distracted by potential bear lairs off to the side.

"Oh hey... look at that, let's go check that out!" Sigh, so another exploration of a potential bear den. This time around, little bear found another hollow log. The last one was tilted at an odd angle which meant it would get very wet during a rainstorm. But today, little bear actually found one that was horizontal on the ground.

Little bear scampered over and had a look... It was a hollow log and looked quite deep. Little bear took a few steps inside and realized a few things: (1) he could really only stand up near the opening, (2) it was full of rotten wood (ewww), and (3) there was no front door... which meant no privacy.

Poor little bear... you could feel sorry for him... but he takes it all in good stride at this point. He knows that the perfect bear den is out there somewhere... just waiting for him! All he has to do is be patient... which is a good lesson for us as well (especially when accompanying little bear on a walk!).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Model Bear

Little bear things he might have what it takes to be a model for the Sears catalogue... He's seen pictures and he knows that the most important thing is to find a suitable background for the clothing that one is modeling. Since he sports a very fetching green down jacket, snow pants, snow boots and an aviator-style hat - he was thinking that an adventurous outdoor locale might be best. And he's also seen pictures of people modelling next to big trees, peering between two large tree trunks, so he thought he'd give it a whirl.
Pouting little bear

He was trying to look "oh-so-casual" while perched four feet off the ground. Hmmm... maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all!

Little bear learned that if wanted a career in modeling, he was going to have to be look nonchalant, cool, calm and collected, even it was -30C outside... When asked to produce a suitable sultry pout for the camera, little bear realized that maybe modelling was not for him...

Ah little bear... he's doing what a lot of us do... searching for a suitable career and running into roadblocks along the way. But it's actually a good thing. At least he's eliminated one possibility from the vast array out there!