Forty-five-year-old Colin Dowler is lucky to be alive.
“I was thinking I’m not going to make it,” said Dowler.
But on a solo backcountry bike trip in the remote coastal rainforest of Ramsay Arm about 180 kilometres northeast of Powell River, a grizzly bear, had other ideas.
“I was talking to the bear, explaining to it that you know we don’t have to have a problem here. It’ll be ok,” said Dowler.
A one hundred and fifty-kilogram male grizzly charged the Quadra Island man, ripping his bike from his grip, grabbing him by the stomach and dragging him dozens of meters.
“I was trying to peel it’s lips or mouth back, but it bit my arm, bit my foot, bit this leg a couple of times,” said Dowler.
“I tried to grab this little pocket knife my dad had given me two weeks earlier. I tried getting to it but couldn’t from the pain of the bear chewing away. I could hear the grating sounds.”
After playing dead didn’t work, Dowler says he summoned the strength to get to his knife, before stabbing the grizzly in the neck.
Giving him enough time to get back on his bike.
“I thought I have one more chance to do it right. It was a 7 kilometres bike back to the camp,” said Dowler.
Dowler’s femoral artery was cut, and he was losing massive amounts of blood, but he made it back to the nearest logging camp where workers likely saved his life.
“It cut off the supply of blood to his leg, and if it was any more than an hour or two more, he could have permanent damage to that leg, or even lose that leg,” said Dr. Naisan Garraway, Head of Trauma at Vancouver General Hospital.
And his family, couldn’t be more thankful.
“He definitely wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them,” said Jen Dowler, Colin’s wife.
“And I’m just happy that my husband is as stubborn as he is.”
Meanwhile, Dowler recovers in Vancouver General Hospital, with a smile on his face.
“Dinner’s on me when I get back,” said Dowler, to the forestry workers who helped him live.