Alberta resident and mountain lover Andrew Dole happened to be in the right place at the right time to snap this classic photo of a napping grizzly bear. Here’s how the shot came to be.

A few weeks ago Calgary, Alberta resident Andrew Dole posted a show-stopper photo of a grizzly bear napping on the side of the highway in Kootenay National Park. We tend to see a lot of amazing photos here at Mountain Culture Group but this one gave us pause because we could really resonate with the bear that looks to be just chillin’. We wanted to find out more about the picture and the photographer so we contacted Andrew and the following interview is the result.

Hey Andrew. This is such a great shot. Where exactly were you when you snapped it?

The picture was taken just east of Radium hot springs on highway 93. The spot where the bear was sitting was at the top of the first mountain pass heading through Kootenay National Park.

Andrew’s girlfriend Kim Dirrane shot this video of the grizzly bear lounging in Kootenay National Park.

What were you doing?

My girlfriend Kim and I were on a weekend camping trip in the Invermere area. It was such a perfect weekend. Weather was awesome, we summited our first mountain of the year, dipped in a few different hot springs and camped out by the lake.

Was the bear lounging like that the entire time or did you see it get into that position?

The bear was on the wall when we pulled up and continued to lounge there when we drove off, but for the few minutes we watched him as he changed his position over and over. Head up, head down, look left, look right. [laughs] It was pretty neat.

The photographer Andrew Dole at Enid lake the same weekend he took the photo of the grizzly.

Were there any other cars on the road?

There was in fact quiet a few people there at the time. It is a road side pullout and view point so people are always stopping to take pictures. I have stopped at this spot many times myself but I was unbelievable surprised when i saw what else was relaxing there and taking in the view.

Have you had a few different bear encounters during your travels?

Yes I have fortunately. I have lived in Alberta and BC for the past five years and have put thousands and thousands of miles on my vehicles exploring these beautiful provinces. I’ve seen at least 20 black bears in those travels but that is only the second time I have seen a grizzly. We actually saw a momma black bear and her two cubs the day before but we weren’t able to get a good picture.

Andrew’s girlfriend Kim at the summit of Swansea mountain.

What type of activities do you like to do in the mountains and where?

In the summer I like to hike, swim, go hot spring hunting and really just explore new places. In the winter my mountain travels are mostly focused around snowboarding, snowboarding and more snowboardin. [Laughs] As for where I go, let’s just say that between the Rockies and the Coast Mountains there aren’t many roads I haven’t driven down.

When we see that pic you took, it resonates ’cause there are days we feel exactly like that bear looks. What about you? You ever look like that?

Oh yes! Pretty much every Monday after a trip exploring the mountains. Which is very often. I work Monday to Friday so my weekends are my time to do the things I really love to do. So it’s normally go go go. I like to try and really enjoy and make the most of every minute of my weekend. With that being said Monday mornings usually hit me like a bag of bricks.