He used grizzlies to overcome his drug and alcohol addictions. I think he switched from one addiction to another (adrenaline). Extreme sporters do the same thing. Sometimes their hobby kills them.
Has anyone seen "Grizzly Man"?
Hey Jgnat - I like the link to the metis mountain men. That's my stomping grounds and I grew up in them there parts.
I know some of the Moberly family and while Parks Canada has held these men up as heroes of a sort, many of their offspring are less generous. Some of these "mountain men" simply came to the area had their fun, impregnated native women and then left them and their small children to fend with nothing. You can see that in the details of how long many of them stuck around. Most left without taking their offspring along.
When Parks commemorated "Moberly Flats" as a historical spot, I remember his Metis grandaughter, who was an older women and my driving instructor at the time, saying he did nothing but knock up the grandmother and leave her and the family alone to suffer and struggle. IMO, those women and their children are the real heroes of the backcountry.
Check out Jaco Finlay, Metis patriarch of over twenty children. His father took his white children back to Montreal and left him in Western Canada to fend for himself. Which he did quite well, thank you very much.
Another story relates how explorers came across six orphans, including a six month old. They took them to Jaco's wife, who already had children of her own, to take care of. That might explain how Jaco ended up with so many children. Now she must have been an amazing lady.
Jgnat - thanks for those links. I'm going to read the material and yes, that's quite a story about Jaco Finley for sure. Sounds like his father at least made some provisions for him and his mom, the "country wife". The history of the people of the Canadian Rockies is something. My grandfather was raised by his older brother, an early park ranger, in the wild back country of Field. A few years ago, I made a trek to the little cabin where they lived, which is at the base of a mountain range that was later named after them. Parks is no longer maintaining the cabin and if I had money I'd love to fix it up as a memorial. It was quite a life they had, getting around the mountains on horse back and living in the extreme conditions of the mountains.
You mentioned Chris McCandless, for what it's worth, I read Jon Kraukauer's book about him 'Into the Wild' many years back. It's a short read and one of the best stories I've ever read. I highly recommend it. While the Alaskans beat McCandless up for being an idiot, which I can understand based on his plight, reading his story showed me he was also quite a remarkable soul and he did have quite a phenomenal understanding of nature, even though it took him in the end.
Many who try to get closer to nature in these extreme ways don't survive the call, and most of us don't understand their desires. But sometimes these people do raise awareness and leave behind a greater understanding of our natural world for others. According to Wiki, Grizzly Man educated 1,000's of children about grizzly bears, which to me is a thumbs up. It's species in peril - esp. in Alberta, where rednecks think nothing of shooting them (and every other wild animal) from the back of their motorized quads. One thing I know about "mountain men" is they all think they're smarter and better out-witting mother nature than the other guy.
(That being said if you see a bear get the hell outta there - lol.)
Yup, it's pretty wild country. The Alaska highway was not built until 1942. I've talked to locals who remembered that horseback was the only way to get around. One of the elders explained that they might take a trip on horseback to pick up staples but they might all be eaten by the time he got back.
I am attracted to the country. I get the sense this is one of the few places left on the planet where, ten steps from the door, nature rules.
I am convinced that Mother Nature is not flitting down the lanes spewing rose petals. Nature is wild, and it is be alert or be eaten.
I love nature too. Walking in the woods is my way of going to church. But with that being said, I'm extremely careful. Over the years, I've ran into a few black bears (from a distance) and it scares me, even though a lot of people I know aren't overly bothered by them. I can't imagine if I saw a grizzly in the wild.
Yep, GC is really beautiful -- you live in a real wild country up there. I haven't been there for years. Was thinking of joining a team for this year's Death Race but doc says the goal now is to just be able to walk unassisted in July, so no outdoors for me for awhile. You be careful up there! Esp. in the spring - everything is hungry right now.
They don't call them 'Ursus Arctos Horribilis' for nothing...not a pet.