Messages from Our Guests:
“To Jeff & Bindi –
Thank you so much for having us share your home with you. The food and drink was “pretty good” (you’re not a bad chef Jeff!) although you need to remember – pecan pie needs to be served warm with whipped cream! The bears were awesome – fair dinkum we were so lucky to have such great weather & to see so many bears. It will take some doing for the experience to ever be bettered – ridgie didge!! See you down under! Thanks for the memory! Love, Dale, Terri & George P.S. HTFU!
– Terri & George Old, Dale Sheppard from Collie, Western Australia
Dear Jeff & Bindi,
What can we say? It has been an amazing weekend and it has changed our views forever about bears. Your passion, understanding and knowledge of them is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing your life with us and for the amazing food, walks and boat trip yesterday.
We have a life time of memories.
Love Michelle, Peter, Margaret & Tom
– Michelle & Peter, Margaret & Tom from Okanagan, B.C.
Dear Jeff & Bindi,
Thank you. For sharing your piece of paradise with us, for the delicious meals, great conversations, for your knowledge and respect of this area and the bears. It was a dream come true to see the bears and to experience them with you & your peaceful, respectful manner – we could not have picked a better guide or experience. We came as strangers, left as friends and we will always think of you and Bindi whenever we see grizzlies forever after. Jeff, I am so happy I was able to return to complete my five days here with you and Bindi – our time with the bears & together walking through this magical place you call home has been beyond my wildest dreams! Great food, great fun, great friendship & great conversation – hope to do this again! Fred
– Fred Fendler from California, U.S.
Jeff, It has been an amazing week, thank you for your hospitality and for sharing with us all your knowledge and experiences with the majestic grizzlies. Our encounters will be remembered forever, we take Bella Coola’s rivers, trees, meadows, lakes and grizzlies in our hearts. Great Bear Chalet is a magical place… Thank you Jeff. Thank you Bindi. Walid & Vanessa
– Walid Durr & Vanessa Tejada Vigil from California, U.S.
Well it took me awhile to find you, your fabulous home and amazing surrounds Jeff, but I am so glad I chose the Great Bear Chalet experience of all options. Your passion is a gift, your hospitality wonderful and the experience you share – unforgettable! Bear hugs & kisses,
– Samantha Wilson from Australia
G’Day Birthday Boy! I must say that I have had a great time while staying with you Jeff. Thank you for sharing your grizzlies with me, they were very special and one of the reasons I came over from Australia to visit. I have not been disappointed. Thanks again Mate! Best wishes,
– Ian Antonie from Sydney, Australia
Jeff, What a wonderful time! I enjoyed the food, company and scenery so very much. I look forward to coming back to spend more time.
– Andrew Feiler from Las Vegas, NV
We ended a weekend of sunshine and the last green of the season with a moody day of fog and rain. But the bears were out every day! We loved the Chalet – its comforts, beautiful location along the great bear highway, and the fantastic meals Jeff served us. But what changed us was our experience with the bears – on their terms, in their home. Jeff helped us see with the “bear’s eye view”, which opened up a new way of seeing. We’re grateful for an enjoyable weekend and a great life experience! All the best,
– Brie Linkenhoker & Bill Newsome from California, U.S.
Thank you so much Jeff for that lovely stay at Great Bear Chalet. The drifts, walks, the delicious meals and the experience and your passion for the nature and the bears. You live it and that we can feel! Thank you!!!
– Anja & Thomas Widmer from Switzerland
When one is drawn back to a place as amazing as this, it is less about the place and more about the people and experience. The experience of salmon, eagles and bears. The time spent with Jeff and his infectious passion and committment to this land and the majestic beings with whom he shares.
Norman Maclean wrote, “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” This is such a place; where the interdependance of all things is not only seen but experienced. I have spent time here when the Atnarko was lined with ice and when the cool waters beckoned and at both seasons was the experience amazing and awe inspiring.
– Wim Vanderspek from Seattle, WA
I reached out to Great Bear Chalet before arriving in the Bella Coola Valley and was received with a warm welcome and open invitation to engage fully with the valley, nature, people experience. I could feel the spirit of the bear as I pulled off the highway and was absorbed into the energy of the GBC. Hospitality, community, deep appreciation and resonance with the natural world and the gifts I will leave with. My warmest gratitude.
– Jen from Vancouver, BC
It does not get any better than this! Thank you.
– Alex & Petia Stefanova from Sophia, Bulgaria & Victoria, B.C.
First off I have to say it’s very hard putting such an amazing trip into words. It’s something you have to experience! I was traveling solo from the UK to Bella Coola, British Columbia in September mainly to see wild bears. My love for them is great and it was a life changing experience viewing them in the wild.
Our half day hike was so peaceful and calming for the soul. We saw Mother Nature as she should be seen – wild and free. It’s eco-friendly as it should be, you observe not intrude. It’s a magical experience. We saw grizzly bears and where they roam, all while being well informed on all that surrounded us. Truly an amazing trip. I highly advise visiting the Great Bear Chalet and hiking with Jefferson Bray. It was one of the finest moments in my life.
– Pete Plumbley from Rugby, Warwickshire England
We thoroughly enjoyed our walk in the woods with Jeff, Bindi, and the bears. We found Jeff to be very knowledgeable about all of the wildlife and plant life that makes up the Valley environment, and in particular how it interconnects to form a balanced ecosystem.
Jeff lead us on a bear viewing walk through the woods, where we were able to see signs of bear activity and behaviour all around us. His experience in bear watching was invaluable, and we felt very safe in his company. We were fortunate enough to see a sow with two cubs on our trip. We watched from a privileged position upstream as the mother caught a large salmon in the river, and ate it on the bank. It was a totally unique experience, and one of the highlights of our time in Canada.
The Chalet itself is a beautiful wooden construction, and picture-perfect accommodation for the surroundings.
– George & Rachel Wheelhouse from Flitwick, England
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see these majestic creatures up close. It was an amazing experience.
– Haroula Spiropoulos from Alberta, Canada
It’s a beautiful, big inspiration to be at home. Thanks so much for sharing!
– Diederick Huizinga from Netherlands
“Hidden deep into the heart of the Bella Coola Valley, nestled between the Coast mountains and amongst the majestic, ancient trees of the old growth forest, you will find the gorgeous Great Bear Chalet. I had the pleasure of staying with Jeff for a winter escape from the hustle and bustle of urban living.
I had found the perfect place to relax and unwind! The stylish lodgings, the delicious food made with the freshest of local ingredients, the fine wine pairings, and my cosy bed were enough to give me happy memories for years to come, yet the warm hospitality and abundance of knowledge, imparted by my host, will be the things I cherish above all.
Jeff is a true naturalist and lover of all creatures of the great outdoors. Even in the midst of winter, he took us on hikes along the shores of the crystal clear and pristine Atnarko River, explaining about habits and survival of the fish, foxes, wolves and especially bears which inhabit this unspoiled wilderness. We visited the surrounding hills, to take photographs of the stunningly beautiful snow capped mountains and to snowshoe into the wild. At night we nestled by the fire and listened to the rush of the river, and the silence of the valley. This experience was a retreat for my mind, body and soul, so thank you, Grizzly Kingdom, for allowing me to visit.”
“Beauty is composed of many things and never stands alone. It is part of horizons, blue in the distance, great primeval silences, knowledge of all things of the earth… It is so fragile it can be destroyed by a sound or thought. It may be infinitesimally small or encompass the universe itself. It comes in a swift conception wherever nature has not been disturbed.” ( Sigurd F. Olsen)
The Chalet is a wonderful home, complete with rustic wooden beams, massive windows that allow for views in all directions, two floor to ceiling stone fireplaces ( one in the great room and the other in the dining room) and two wonderful guest suites, complete with their own bathrooms. One is situated upstairs, with views to the river, and the other is on the main floor, situated to make you feel as though you are nestled in the forest. Probably one of the most remarkable aspects of the Chalet, is that it is off the grid, and this sustainable way of living receives top marks from me.
– Sharon Kemble from Barcelona, Spain
My brother and I spent five days with Jeff at the Great Bear Chalet at the end of August. Jeff was an superb host. We dined in style the Great Bear Chalet; way, with fresh local veggies and fruit, combined with barbequed ribs, pork, and my personal favorite, homemade pesto pasta. All the food was prepared by Jeff in the comfort of the Chalet. We stayed in the guest room on the main floor, a very comfortable room and bathroom with terrific wildlife and first nations artwork on every wall. We really had the impression that his Chalet was our Chalet for those few days.
We had freedom to walk out on to the spacious deck and sit in the morning sun listening to the river go by only a few hundred feet away, while a great misty mountain towered over us. The Chalet is immersed in the wild (inside Tweedsmuir provincial park), with great windows throughout to view the ever present wild life. We were lucky enough to hear a bear making his way through the bush, as well as to see a bushy tailed fox right below us.
Each day we did something new in the region. Jeff knew the area so very well, as well as the best places to see grizzly bears, and on our first day we saw a mother grizzly and her two one year old cubs. The second day we ventured on a long walk down a trail next to the Atnarko river and saw yet another mother grizzly and her two cubs, this time two years old. We were maybe twenty feet away, and the mother grizzly made eye contact with us as we slowly back away as a group. It was an amazing moment for my brother and I. We were both overcome with awe, and yet felt completely safe thanks to Jeff’s in depth knowledge of these great animals.
We also enjoyed a river rafting experience, and to finish the trip we made the long drive up Freedom Road into Alpine country. It was here that we hiked through the fire scorched alpine, with beautiful creeks and meadows combined with wild flowers popping up left and right. We came back with some extraordinary pictures, particularly of the vast alpine country that overlooks on to snow laden Pacific Coastal Mountains.
Overall it was the best trip experience I have had in years, and I look forward to doing it again soon! Jeff was so very knowledgeable as both a bear guide and host to the region. We felt at ease in his Chalet, and received an all inclusive, comfortable experience that far exceeded our expectations. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to experience British Columbia’s natural beauty the way it should be experienced, fully immersed in it all. I have come back with pictures, stories, and inspiring knowledge of our great outdoors in this province, especially of the true king of the region, the mighty grizzly bear!
– Jason Burr from Victoria, BC