September 8, 2001

Two kayakers were camped on Diamond Lake about 50 meters south of the Lady Evelyn liftover on Saturday, September 8 (see map). Jeff Sobie, 37, of Breslau, Ontario, and Elise Paré, 26, of Ottawa, Ontario, were on a 10-day trip from Sandy Inlet through Diamond and Obabika Lakes. They checked the campsite and found dried bear scat about 100 meters back. Both the remoteness of the scat and the old condition gave them a sense of security, but they still chose to be extra careful with their food. They cleaned up thoroughly after dinner, and hung all their food about eight feet off the ground from a branch about 75 meters back from their tents.

Photos: tent damaged in bear attack

                                                      Photos: Elise Paré

Jeff pointing to the largest tear in his tent. The photo was taken when Jeff and Elise returned in the morning. The enlargement reveals the claw hole on the inner wall, made at the moment the bear's attack was stopped by Elise's screams. Jeff's head was inches from that spot when the claw pierced.

Photo: items damaged by bear

Elise holding fragments of the dry bag that contained their food.

It started raining at about 8 p.m. so they went to their individual tents.  About 11 p.m. Jeff heard heavy footfalls and loud, deep sniffing outside his tent. He knew it was a bear investigating. It became quiet as the bear wandered elsewhere. Shortly, the bear returned. He wasn't overly concerned as he had no food in his tent, nor previously had there been any, so he didn't expect more than a little curiosity from the bear.

Suddenly, the bear pushed his dome tent. "I started to yell," recounded Jeff. "The bear took a step back then rushed at my tent."  When the bear landed on the tent, it partially collapsed. As the bear moved, it popped back up. "My yelling turned to screaming." The bear growled and it ripped through the fly. Still growling, its claws went through the main wall of the tent.

Elise, who had been sleeping in her tent, positioned closer to the lake, woke up to Jeff's screaming. She heard him shout, "A bear's attacking my tent!" She then started screaming.

At the moment Jeff heard Elise's screams, the bear stopped tearing into the tent. Jeff kept screaming while pulling on his pants. The bear had backed off, though he wasn't sure to where. All he knew was he had to get out of the tent. He could do nothing inside it to defend himself or even escape. He crawled into the black night and ran over to Elise's tent.

They heard a branch snap in the woods and knew the bear had their food packs. They grabbed some pots. While banging them, they gathered a few belongings, stuffed them into a kayak, and paddled down the lake. 

"He would have killed me," Jeff said. "He wasn't just investigating. He was going after me."

They found the first island about three kilometers south, where they spent the night. "It was impossible to sleep," Elise said. "Everything sounded like bear." 

They went back the next day and recovered the torn tent and packs, then headed straight back to Sandy Inlet. They were still shaking three days later.

— Posted September 13, 2001

Diamond Lake Bear Warning - 2001

Diamond Bear-Encounter Report and Map - 2001

Guides' Report - 2001

July 28, 2001 Bear Advisory - Upgraded to Warning

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