Field Notes

View From My Office Today

View From My Office Today

Today was a good day. It was the kind of day that makes a guy feel pretty darn lucky to be a bear guide. As far as jobs go, it is a good gig.

I know I waxed all eloquent about rain in my last post. And it is all true. But there is a place for sun. Especially for action shots of things like grizzlies chasing salmon…

Dispatch from the Great Bear Rainforest

Twelve years ago I arrived in the Great Bear Rainforest for my first job as a wildlife guide. I was a seasoned field biologist and had spent many seasons over mountains and tundra, but the coast was a whole new world for me. My boat skills were rusty, I knew almost nothing about the ocean and tides – and very little about grizzly bears. But it was not difficult to decipher that I was in a very special place. And it did not take me long to fall in love with it.

New Gallery: Snake River Yukon

New Gallery: Snake River Yukon

Last summer my partner Heidi and I went on a fabulous three week canoe trip on the Snake River in the Yukon.

The last time I visited the Yukon, I was a much younger man. 18 years younger to be precise. After a season of tree planting in Ontario I was looking for an adventure before university resumed in September. My plan was to paddle 700 km down the Teslin River into the Yukon River to Dawson City by myself…

Bruce Kirby invites Stephen Harper on a camping trip.

Bruce Kirby invites Stephen Harper on a camping trip.

Over the last two decades Bruce Kirby has paddled and hiked in some of the Earth’s most remote places. He has also guided hundreds of people on wilderness trips and written two national bestselling books about his adventures. His breathtaking wilderness images have been published widely and he is a regular columnist with the Globe and Mail.

This Canada Day he invited our Prime Minister to join him for a three day wilderness camping trip…

Max Finkelstein and the Talmud of Paddling

Max Finkelstein and the Talmud of Paddling

I was out jogging in the Ottawa arboretum this afternoon, when I spotted a green heron standing on a log in a small pond trying to eat a frog. I don’t see green herons very frequently, and this one was much more concerned with the frog than with me, so I was able to watch the action at close range. It was a nice surprise since my legs were feeling quite heavy and I was happy for a break from running.

While I stood there a couple dogs came by followed by a guy with his arm in a sling. I pointed out the heron and we fell into conversation. As it turned out, this guy was Max Finkelstein noted canoeist and writer…

WWF, the Great Bear Sea and the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

WWF, the Great Bear Sea and the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

Last fall staff and supporters of the World Wildlife Fund traveled to British Columbia to explore the central coast aboard the Island Roamer, and I was fortunate enough to be their guide.

With the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal looming over the coast, it is an important time to draw attention to this unique and spectacular place. WWF tries to do just that in this video, referring to this region as the Great Bear Sea…

Shocking, white and wondrous

Shocking, white and wondrous

Many of us in Ottawa are getting edgy, hoping we’ll get snow soon. Without it, I daresay, there will be little to do this winter for those of us who spend our time on the ski trails of Gatineau park, skating on the Rideau canal, kite skiing or playing outdoor hockey. Winter without snow around here would be tiresome in the extreme.

So, I went hiking yesterday reluctantly, but discovered something surprising…