“Don’t worry, there isn’t any grizzlies in these parts”. That’s what Bob said, just before letting me loose to photograph the wild horses that live on the rescue site.
I arrived not long ago when Bob, the president of the society ‘Wild Horses of Alberta Society’, and his partner Fran picked me up from the B&B. They arrived slightly early so I rushed to cram the remainder of my belongings away and run down the stairs with my luggage to meet them. In my rush, I almost slipped up on the wooden flooring.
I would miss the homeliness of the B&B and the city, but I am moving to a new place where the work and the real fun starts.
“Bye Louise, it was nice having you” Arlene the B&B owner hollered down the stairs.
“BYE! Thanks again” I yelled back before letting the door swing shut and walking towards the big red car that awaits.
I haul my luggage into the boot; Bob extended his hand as a greeting and so does Fran.
“Well hop in, ” Bob said. I clambered up into the big car; it was quite a way up for a short person.
We chatted for part of the journey to Sundre, talking about R.Vs, the Canadian domestic life and about the horses of course. I chatted with ease, which surprised me as I’m normally quite shy and don’t say more than ‘Hmm’.
So that how I ended up at the facility to meet the volunteers, the rescued wild horse, and the wild onsite band, much to my pleasant surprise.
This was where I was when Bob said about the bears. If I’m honest, the fact a bear could eat me didn’t cross my mind until he said that. I was actually worried more about the stallion charging at me!
Two types of bears actually reside in Canada. The grizzly bear and the smaller black bear are both species that are omnivores, which means they eat anything from berries to salmon.
In fact, what are the odds of me being killed by a bear?
Incredibly low in fact, I remember reading in Stephen Herrero’s book Bear Attacks that attacks are events and in North America there are approximately six hundred thousand black bears and sixty thousand grizzlies. Anyway, statistics say in the 2000’s in North America including Canada, U.S, and Mexico the Black Bear killed 15 people and the Grizzly killed 12 in the same period. Not that many when you think about it. In other words, less than 3 people are killed each year in North America.
So there I am. Walking towards the back of the rescue site towards the area where the wild horses are lingering. There are so many trees in the woods, mainly birch. I stand in a clearing, silence. I look up at the tall trees, they’re huge. I walk on the pine cushioned floor littered with dirt and leaves. You would have thought there’d be a fresh, nature smell in the area, but I smell….nothing. I’ve never smelt nothing before. The air is fresh and crisp. The sun filters through the trees creating a dazzling light.
I spot the stallion first. The stallion they call ‘Portero’ which means gatekeeper in Spanish. He is magnificent with this great presence and this beautiful long wavy mane covering his dark eyes. The sun shining over his coat, his muscles rippling. His mares stand behind dozing peacefully and heavily pregnant.
The horses, this place, the silence, is magnificent. I can’t believe I saw the wild horses on my first day and managed to get some stunning photographs.