The author's tent on the edge of the St Lawrence River, north shore, Quebec.

Thank You, Wolves

I purchased my first BV500 in 2018, in preparation for a 3700 mile cycling trip around eastern Canada. I’d read that polar bears had been spotted in Labrador and Newfoundland, right where I was headed. This was great news, because polar bears are magestic creatures with silvery fur and mystical souls! It also meant I had to be very, very careful where I stored my snacks.

My parents drove me and my gear from their house in Rhode Island up to Parc National de Forillon, Quebec, where I’d decided to start my trip. We pulled into the campground and were promptly surrounded by black bears. The bears weren’t actually trying to surround us–they just lived there and were interested in the trash bins. I was glad I had my BearVault. My parents were glad their health insurance covered therapy.

A bear examines a bear-resistant garbage container.

These bears wanted some trash in Parc National de Forillon, Quebec. 

The next morning I packed up my gear, waved goodbye, and pedaled away in the direction of Labrador. It was a long way away. After about 800 miles my boyfriend Scott joined me in Montreal. We rode out of the city into the countryside, through bogs and blackflies and tiny rugged towns. 


A fox crosses a dirt road looking at a passing bikepacker.

A fox in the path.

As we neared Labrador, the landscapes grew sparser, wilder. In one small village we stopped at a tourist station manned by a child wearing braces. I asked about the route ahead and if there were bears in the area. 


A bikepacker stops to look at a tortoise.

Turtle crossing.

The girl flashed a large, bracey smile, paused, and then blurted, “Well it’s not the bears you have to worry about, it’s the wolves.”


“Oh,” I said.


We got back on the bikes and continued.


Two BearVault BV500s sitting on the forest floor.


Over the next few weeks we saw all kinds of creatures–foxes, porcupines, reindeer, seals, birds, slugs, turtles, and snakes–but no more bears and no wolves. That doesn’t mean they didn’t see us though. If they did, they let us be. Thank you, wolves. 


A bikepacker next to a tent in the forest.

The author in the wild. 

Author Profile

A bikepacker stops to look at a tortoise.

Laura Killingbeck

Laura Killingbeck is a freelance writer and lifelong adventurer. She often works from the wild, using her BearVault as a writing desk. You can subscribe to her newsletter, Laura’s Stories, and follow her journeys on Instagram and Facebook.

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