If you follow us on social media you'll have seen that half of team Kootz (Leah) spent the Canada Day long weekend in Golden, BC.
If you're not familiar with Boo, he's a Grizzly bear that lives halfway up Kicking Horse Mountain. Our trip to Golden was a family event. With 2 energetic toddlers in tow, you can imagine that the excitement level to see a huge bear up close was pretty high. And Boo, he did not disappoint. Smarter than the average bear? Quite possibly Yogi, quite possibly!
We headed up the resort hill on Canada Day morning. The clouds were low and the rain had just started. We knew the best time to visit Boo was early, and we also knew that Boo was celebrating his Birthday and cake was in store. So, despite the rain, we were on our way up the lift! A scenic 15 minute ride and we'd arrived halfway up Kicking Horse Mountain to a cool drizzle and more excited tourists and locals alike, eager to see the beast on the mountain.
Mmmm cake. Sweet 16 for this hairy dude.
Boo was celebrating his Sweet 16. He was actually born in January, but since he now hibernates through that month, July 1st has become his official day of celebration. I don't speak bear, but it became pretty clear that Boo already knew he had a treat in store that day and was basking in the extra attention. Boo's personality is equivalent to the size of the giant claws on his padded paws.The group of us sang Happy Birthday and then Boo was treated to a Birthday banana loaf, with peanut butter and honey drizzle and 16 BOOberries on top! A fitting snack for a Birthday Beast. Boo tentatively chewed his cake and was surprisingly gentle about it.
Grizzly problems: When there's pb stuck to your mouth...
Our tour guides were excellent and shared a ton of information on Boo. Their passion for caring for the bear was so apparent it was truly moving. Boo's early years were pretty tumultuous and it was awesome to see him thriving at Kicking Horse. His enclosure is no joke. At 20 acres, Boo has enough space to explore, hide, hunt, bathe and be mentally stimulated in a variety of ways. It is, in fact, the largest Grizzly Bear refuge in the world. The space is so large that he is able to naturally source 50% of his own diet. An excellent stat for any captive animal. Just ask Boo about the Moose in 2015!
I was actually taken aback at how distinct and big Boo's personality was. His relaxed demeanour around the crowds, his pleasure in receiving a birthday treat, it really seemed like he knew we were there for him. As fun as it was to observe him, it was also really cool to learn how much Boo has helped his fellow bears in the wild. Being able to study Boo has made strides towards the conservation of the animals and understanding of bear behaviours. Information that has been shared widely all based on the team working with Boo. The circumstances that lead him to Kicking Horse may have been unfortunate, but I am so happy to see what a fulfilling life he has at KHMR.
Oh yes, it's a Boo bath.
A big thank you to KHMR and RCR, for allowing my family to have this experience. It's something we won't forget!
If you'd like to read in detail about Boo's early years and how he came to Golden, read this great article from Tyler Dixon.