Black vs Grizzly bear – who is who?

I’ve been lucky enough in the past 3 summers to immerse myself in nature and to do this with an expert in wildlife, my boyfriend.

Since seeing my first bear in 2009, it has been my mission to pick out the difference between a black bear and grizzly bear, as other tourists would often shout out that they have just seen a grizzly bear, when, in fact – it was a black bear.

There are a few key differences to help differentiate between the two:

1. Black bears have a straight snout, while grizzlies have a dished in snout/face profile.

2. Black bears do not have a pronounced shoulder hump, while grizzlies do.

3. Black bears ears stick out more, grizzlies are less pronounced.

4. Black bears have shorter claws, you can definitely see grizzlies light long claws a lot more clearly.

5. Black bears, for the most part are much smaller than grizzlies.

Guess the bear – black or grizzly:

Bear #1

Yellowstone National Park

Bear #2

Yellowstone National Park

Bear #3

Yellowstone National Park

Bear #4

Yellowstone National Park

Bear #5

Waterton, Alberta

Bear #6

Waterton, Alberta

Bear #7

Kananaskis, Alberta


#1 – Grizzly #2 – Black Bear #3 – Grizzly #4 – Black Bear #5 – Black Bear #6 – Black Bear #7 – Grizzly

How did you do?

PS – Read my view on wildlife photography.

Quote: Majestic Canada

It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw, not because she is Canada but because she’s something sublime that you were born into, some great rugged power that you are a part of.
Emily Carr

Maligne Lake – Jasper, Alberta

Photo: Hey baby!

Taken in Jasper, Alberta on Maligne Lake Road. So cute, this big horn lamb.

#3 hike a la summer – Sulphur Skyline, Jasper.

Welcome to Jasper – land of a thousand amazing hikes. There were so many gorgeous trails I explored while there for eight days.

1. Whistlers was rewarding at the top – with a view of the Jasper town site below the clouds. Too bad the trail was so muddy and flooded and the mosquitos were the worst I had seen the entire summer, oh wait…and there was a townsite below? I think I saw it through glimpses of the rain clouds that pestered us the entire hike. Oh yes, and then the ice pellets that started pelting us at the peak of the mountain…

2. The Valley of the Five Lakes was packed full of tourists and rewarded us with spectacular views of five very unique and stunning lakes. This is a hike that I would do every summer, as a warm up for some of the more intense trails.

How can you beat those colours?

3. Wabasso Lake was also a great warm up with a few pretty ponds full of duck and beaver (well beaver dams anyway).

I am very much enjoying this daily dose of fresh air and exercise!

4. Palisade Lookout was one hike that I left incomplete. It was an extremely hot morning, with little shade to help me out, and ONLY a few sips of coffee to start my day off. Once my mosquito bite count went past the 15 mark, I gave up and dragged my boyfriend back to the car. Whoops – bug spray and coffee next time.

The one hike that knocked all of these others out of the park (national park, that is), was the hike associated with the always popular, Miette Hot Springs – Sulphur Skyline. It was recommended to us by our waitress from Prime Rib Village the night before. Her brilliant idea was for us to complete this hike, then take a dip in the hot springs afterward as a reward. Sounded perfect!

The trail sign recommended 4-5 hours to complete 8km, with an elevation gain of 700m (2,300 feet). We accomplished this feat in just under 2 hours, as per our crazy determination to not only beat the recommendations, but to ensure that not one person could pass us. And they didn’t!

So we set out and the hike started uphill, then got a bit steep, then climbed a bit steeper  uphill, and when you turned every corner, yet some more uphill…but once we broke the tree line and continued to the very top, it became veeery steep!

So we went. Up the very steep and loose shale (many people stopped here and therefore missed out on the BEST and most rewarding part), theeeee viewwwwww. Check it out! Please excuse my boyfriend snapping off shots in this video – this camera was attached to his body 24/7:

After practically running up the entire side of this mountain to escape the mosquitos, I felt that this was one of the most rewarding endings to a challenging journey. This song popped into my head as I arrived at the summit:

sorry – poor quality, but neat!

Photograph: Thirsty Coyote

Jasper, Alberta

This guy was one of three coyotes on a very important mission to cross the road and get to the other side.

And that’s all they did, just to get a drink of water.

Home, aka Toronto


I am back to being a city girl once again. The place fueled by road rage, bright lights in tall towers, sounds of multiple sirens flying across the streets, and smoggy layers of air.

But I still love it.

Totally missing nature already though. And work was quite a culture shock today (and yesterday when I drove in). I couldn’t quite get used to all the people around, the makeup I had to apply, and I just couldn’t seem to figure out how to use a blow-dryer.

This has been on my mind all day at work:

Jasper, Alberta

Stay tuned for #3 from my top 3 hikes this summer! Hint – hellooooo Wyoming!


I really enjoy the part of camping and hiking where I can get off the path of most resistance (aka throngs of tourists in the way) and hike to an area where you MAY see another living being, but more likely you will see a bear.

Anyway, I was reminded that, when I am a tourist, I cannot complain about them. I must embrace them and be one with them. Check out Peyto Lake on the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper:

The shot – taken in 0.0001 seconds, not framed, or tripod-ed and standing on the wooden railing while my boyfriend hung on to my legs for support

The chaos behind the shot

Wait until I show you some of the views from my hikes. There is no chaos behind the scenes. It’s just another gorgeous and peaceful shot waiting to be taken.


Photo – Look ma, I can read!

Medicine Lake – Jasper, Alberta

I caught this big horn baby behind me as I was attempting to take a few photos of his/her mom. It was hilarious, this little guy spent about 5 minutes looking on at the information board as if he was reading about how his home was created.

Just so you don’t feel left out, this is what the little guy is reading about:

Medicine Lake, Jasper

During the summer, glacier melt waters flood the lake, sometimes overflowing it. In fall and winter the lake disappears, becoming a mudflat with scattered pools of water connected by a stream. But there is no visible channel draining the lake – so where then does the water go?

The answer is, “out the bottom”, like a bathtub without a plug. The Maligne River pours into the lake from the south and drains out through sinkholes in the bottom. The water then streams through a cave system formed in the slightly soluble limestone rock, surfacing again in the area of Maligne Canyon 16 kilometers downstream. This is one of the largest known sinking rivers in the Western Hemisphere and may be the largest inaccessible cave system anywhere in the world!

Summer melt water coming into the lake exceeds the capacity of the sinkholes to drain it. Decreased melt water in the late summer and fall means that the lake’s sinkholes can drain the lake faster then the Maligne River can fill it. This creates the disappearing lake phenomena. Aboriginal peoples called the lake Medicine because of its seemingly magical powers, and the United Nations created the Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site partly because of this unique drainage system.

Parks Canada

Now you know!

Photo – Wait for meeee!

This bighorn sheep is staring off into the distance at his 12 other companions that picked up shop and left into the rocky hills at Maligne Lake Road in Jasper, Alberta.

Fare thee well

A great blogger friend of mine once told me not to apologize for leaving, so I will just say – farewell, and see you soon!

I shall post when I have internet access again this summer.

But do not fret, my sister and my friend will be here to keep you company once in a while as well.

See you all in August!! Happy travels!