We knew that our four-day stay at Spirit Bear Lodge in early August 2013 would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience the day we booked it. What we didn’t know until we stayed there for four days was just how special this place is.
Even though we made arrangements for this trip less than a week before our departure, the entire itinerary was executed so well that we felt as though the vacation had been planned for months. Tim, the manger, tailored an excursion package that fit within our “tight window” of travel times. The hospitality extended to us by all of the Spirit Bear staff made us feel welcome and comfortable throughout our stay.
Owned by the First Nations people, the Spirit Bear experience gives the visitor the opportunity to interact with the environment from an insider’s perspective. Led by highly knowledgeable guides and scouts on each excursion, we saw wildlife up close and personal always feeling secure because of the guides’ experience and attention to safety measures. The lodge personnel plan itineraries for each day for small groups, but those plans are adjusted based on participants’ interests and reports of the wildlife which have been spotted by scouts in the field. As a result we saw and heard a humpback whale bubble-hunting, scooping up the swirling herring. We observed a grizzly in its failed attempts to catch salmon in contrast to the seasoned adult black bear that “cherry-picked” the parts of the 8+ salmon it snatched. Bear viewing takes patience, but our “waits” were rewarded each time including the minutes we spent watching the elusive spirit bear hunt for salmon, the highlight of the trip.
Each night we joined with fellow travelers and the guides at the dinner table for family style meals and relived our day’s adventures. We especially appreciated the sense of community that this fostered. After dinner we learned more about First Nations culture through a visit to the Big House and videos.
We researched a variety of lodges that offer bear viewing packages, but we selected Spirit Bear because it is owned and operated by First Nations people who are proud to share it. We wanted a special place to celebrate a wedding anniversary, and we found that place during our adventure at Spirit Bear.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Spirit Bear Lodge Wildlife, Bear Watching Tours and Native Culture in BC's Great Bear Rainforest Visit the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. Explore the natural habitat of the Spirit Bear and home of the world’s only Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy. Unique tours in the ancestral lands and traditional territory of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation. ... more less