Editor’s note: This article was published before the coronavirus pandemic, and may not reflect the current situation on the ground.

British Columbia’s remote Cariboo mountains are jam-packed with grizzly bears. Lizzie Pook checks into a new ‘glampsite’ which brings guests nose-to-nose with the creatures.

As Gary points the bow of the boat downstream, the storm-streaked valley opens up around us, mist clinging to its every ripple and crag. “There are a lot of animals stuffed into this valley, here,” he says, the words spiriting away on the wind that whips around us. “Some of them are easy to get along with, some of them not. We’ll come across aggressive animals, so just do what I say.”

A huge golden eagle swoops by, its wings silhouetted against the towering Douglas firs that peer down onto the river. Beavers slap their tails as we pass and the haunting screech of stellar jays fills the air.Suddenly, to our right, a crash, and I turn to see a huge grizzly launching itself into the river.

“That’s Homer,” Gary whispers, as the beast tears through the water in front of us, his almost-black body like a small ship motoring past. He emerges the other side, bedraggled, his size still mighty as he crashes off into the reeds.