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'Very terrifying': Kelowna couple issues warning after bear encounter at popular park

A KelownaNow reader is hoping to warn residents about bear activity after a frightening encounter at a popular park in the city.

Harpreet Singh and his wife went for their usual walk at Kuiper’s Peak Mountain Park last night.

But they ended up arriving about an hour later than they normally would.

<who> Photo credit: Contributed </who> Jade treats her knee after falling.

At about 9 pm, just after what they described as a “mesmerizing sunset”, they began to hear growling as they reached the peak.

“It was just so unexpected,” Harpreet explained, adding that the evening was “completely calm”.

“We just heard this big growl and then my wife saw the outline of the bear and said, ‘Okay, run!’”

<who> Photo credit: Contributed </who> Jade admires the beautiful sunset moments before the encounter with the bear.

The bear was about 12 metres away from them.

Harpreet said his wife, Jade, soon overtook him as they fled down the mountain.

“I’ve never run so fast in my life,” she said, laughing.

But Jade’s lightning dash almost caused her undoing when she slipped and fell.

She only scraped her knee, however, and was quickly back in the race.

“It was very terrifying.”

The couple made it back to safety and treated Jade’s scrape before calling the RCMP’s non-emergency line to report the sighting.

They do not believe they were followed by the bear at any point.

Harpreet said he knows their decision to run was “not great”, but they did so in the moment because they were so close to a residential area.

He added that he will no longer hike in the area at dusk or nighttime, explaining that it is crucial to “respect [bears’] territory”.

He hopes his encounter will serve to warn others about the possibility of meeting bears in Kelowna’s parks.

Click here to read about black bears and what to do when they are encountered.

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