Ground Squirrels and A Bear

April 19, 2012 — 12 Comments

I promise this post will have nothing too serious. No politics, news, world hardships, or references to the Kardashians. Instead, I want to look back at my visits to somewhere that always makes me smile. Ever since I was a young boy, I have been going to Manning Provincial Park in southern British Columbia, Canada to hike, camp, picnic, and to see the Columbian ground squirrel.

E.C. Manning Provincial Park is located about 200 kilometers east of Vancouver. The drive takes about 2 1/2 hours. The park was named  after E.C. Manning himself. He was the Chief Forester in British Columbia from 1936 to 1941, and believed in setting aside land outside of the National Park system for future generations to enjoy. In the winter, there is snowshoeing, and both cross-country and downhill skiing. In the summer, there are numerous hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult. There are campgrounds and even a road that will take you into the sub-alpine where you can see wildflowers, with little effort.

This is the west gate and entrance to Manning Park. 


During the summer, the most popular feature of Manning Park is the Lightning Lakes where there is a large day-use area and campground. Activities include hiking, picnicking, swimming, fishing, and canoeing. In fact, Lightning Lakes is actually a chain of four lakes which, if I remember correctly, three are joined by streams that are accessible with canoes or kayaks.

Lightning Lake on a morning in late August.


 Lightning Lake on an evening in early July. The day-use area has a large lawn that is home to…


the Columbian ground squirrel. 



The Columbian ground squirrel is only found in parts of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, and Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon in the United States. It’s named after the Columbia River where much of its territory is located around. Although I may be corrected, Manning Park, and this specific colony at Lightning Lake, is the westernmost reach of the Columbian ground squirrel in British Columbia. I must note that these little rodents are only active for about three months of the year. The rest of the time they’re sleeping or hibernating. For more information on the Columbian ground squirrel, please visit the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History page.

  This one is calling.


From another hole, babies emerge.



And the mother.


At least I believe this is the mother.



Okay, I know a cracker is not part of the diet for the Columbian ground squirrel but…


I couldn’t say no.


Oh yes, the bear. On a blog post, I wouldn’t normally include a photo of a bear on a road. While driving through Manning Park early one day last August, I came across this one sauntering in the middle of the highway. I didn’t have a choice and had to stop. He took his time and then proceeded to the side of the road where…


he knelt down and watched me and the traffic go by.


Sorry, I hope you weren’t expecting the ground squirrels playing with the bear. That would certainly be YouTube material.

I hope you enjoyed this post, as I looked back at two of my recent trips to Manning Provincial Park. If you’re ever in the area, it’s well worth a stop for at least a few hours on a pleasant afternoon. If you enjoy relaxing, hiking, or canoeing, you can easily spend a day or two. Or else you can grab a picnic basket and blanket, and relax on the edge of Lightning Lake and watch these cute, furry guys.

“Good bye”

If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle and Kobo. My Goodreads and Amazon pages have reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.

About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.


12 responses to Ground Squirrels and A Bear

  1. LOL funny post…and those little guys are so cute!

  2. What a wonderful post with such great photos – reminds me that I have to get back to BC one day – had the best time(s) when I was last there!

    • Sue, I hope you get back to B.C. soon. There is so much to do and so many places to visit. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. These squirrels are adorable!! Mama squirrel looks after her babies, just like humans, so cute, lots of love and affections!
    Randall, do you encounter with wild bears on a high-way often in Canada ?
    I really enjoy your post, good pictures! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Hiro. I thought the mama and babies were cute too. As for bears, it depends where you are and sometimes, the time of the day. I would much prefer to see bears along the roads than while hiking on the trail. Thanks for visiting 🙂

  4. Fantastic photos and…
    So nice of you to share your lunch.
    The bear is beautiful.
    Makes me miss the days I lived in Montana.

    • Thanks Maria. That’s the way I want to see a bear and not when I’m hiking. Montana is beautiful. I haven’t been there for a few years but remember the drives fondly. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg June 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      Maria, I live in Montana and that was what the photos reminded me of…maybe Glacier Nat’l Park, St. Mary’s Lake or somewhere like that. Great post Randall…I shared. 🙂

      • Hi Linda. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. You are right, this area of British Columbia would be similar to parts of Montana. It’s really not that far away. These mountains are the Northern Cascades that are prominent in northern Washington state. Glad you enjoyed my post 🙂

  5. Those little critters and yes the black bears are just too cute/adorable to be compared to the Kardashians….A very refreshing post , of course Manning Park will make it in my Bucket List of places to visit….My Bucket is getting filled up with many many breathtaking sites within your wonderful Province…. B.C. I’m coming some day! Thanks Randall! 🙂

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