Travel Journal

Dunster - May 10, 11 and 12 - My first wildlife encounter

(Sunday 13 May 2007) by Karin
Picture the Cariboo Mountains on one side, the majestic Rocky Mountains on the other, with the headwaters of the Fraser River winding through the valley bottom. The village of Dunster (about 140 km west of Jasper) is nestled in the midst of this natural beauty. In 'Downtown' Dunster you will find the Dunster School of Fine Arts, a Country General Store and an early 1900's railway station. That's it.
My home for the following weeks is at the Wood Romanow Estate. My wwoof hosts are Ernie and Carol Ann, Shasta (the dog), Caramel and Frosty (the cats) and 3 horses. Ernie and Carol Ann left Friday evening for Edmonton for the weekend so the house and other occupants are my responsibility. My chores over the last few days consisted of painting the downstairs bathroom (which I will have to redo as we didn't realize the paint was a clear base instead of white), making sure the greenhouse stays at a certain temperature and that surely is a challenge, building a compost pile with horse manure, straw, dead leaves, sawdust and kitchen compost, fixing some fences and making sure there is enough wood in the house to build a fire in the evenings as those are still cold. Hey, I actually managed to make a fire without burning the house. I did set off the fire alarm the second time but Carol Ann had already told me that could happen. I of course also feed cats and dog while they are away and Shasta probably thinks my main chore is going on walks with her. It's true, I surely enjoy them as much as she does.
Today, Saturday, surely was my 'lucky' day.
Cougar (also called mountain lion or puma)
Cougar (also called mountain lion or puma)
I'd already walked to Dunster 'downtown' (which they say is about 7 km away but I think it's closer) in the afternoon so I just went up a small trail next to the house with Shasta after dinner and while I turned around at the look-out to enjoy the view Shasta starts barking. I turn around to see what's going on and find myself about 40 m away from a cougar (also known as the mountain lion or puma). Think think think.... what do I do.... darn, why do I have bright clothes on.... do cougars distinguish colors - what do I do if he comes further my way.... stand still... stand still. I hardly dare moving but do manage to get my camera out of my pocket. He walks away but then turns around again. aarrrggghhhh.... Shasta keeps barking but cougar decides we are not a threat, turns around and walks away leisurely. Needless to say I went the other way.
On my walk friday evening I met Glenda (the neighbor) and she invited me to the circle dance at the community hall on Saturday evening. She picked me up around 7 and we had a good time. Tomorrow morning she'll pick me up to go to the flea market 'downtown'.

Good night.


  • Fit & Co by Mike
  • First encounter by Amanda
    • photo by Karin

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