Saturday, September 27, 2014

Shopping with the Locals at the Banff Farmers Market


Banff's park near the Bow River was the site of a Farmer's Market on the weekend. Terry and I stayed in the town long enough to start discovering the spots where locals tend to hang out. A farmer's Market is the perfect spot to meet locals as they shop for locally grown produce.  Locally hunted meat was packaged as sausages and they was an amazing variety of fruits and vegetables.A photographer had a tent set up and he took some interest in what I was doing. He is a wildlife photographer and there is no shortage of subjects in the Canadian Rockies.

One day Terry and I stopped at a lakeside resort to stretch our legs. It had been raining all day but it had finally cleared up a bit. We found a spot on a small wooden bridge that offered a clear view across the lake. We noticed a couple hiking along the far shore. Then above them in a clearing maybe 5o yards up the hillside, we saw a grizzly bear. The bear was foraging for food. Just as the couple entered the clearing, the bear disappeared form view back into the woods. Someone standing next to us said, "They better have bear mace." The couple kept walking around the lake towards us. When they were close, we walked up to them to let them know how close they cad come to a grizzly bear. They hadn't noticed the bear and didn't have any protection. Most hikers were small bells that make noise constantly warning any bears that they are approaching.

At a highway rest stop, a bear walked right through the parking lot. Terry drove up to the crowd of tourists taking pictures and got out to get a shot herself. Tourists stood within 10 yards of the bear taking selfies. The bear then walked towards the crowd and they scattered. He walked right past my passenger door so by staying in the car, I got extremely close to the bear. All this took place in a very short time span. I didn't even think to sketch. I just watched in amazement. Some roads right outside of Banff were closed down because several grizzly bears were competing for territory. Driving down the parkway there were many "Bear Jams" which are crowds of cars pulled of the road so tourists could take photos of bears seen from the road. We stopped at every bear jam. I however didn't sketch because bear jams can be momentary and break up the second a bear wanders away.

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