Experience the challenges and unexpected encounters of a power-deprived Jasper. From a surprise bear encounter to navigating a town without working traffic lights, this enlightening narrative offers insights into our dependence on electricity and the resilience required in unforeseen circumstances

Arrival in Jasper
The arrival in Jasper went smoothly. The train reached our designated station, and I finally had the chance to look around and grasp what the upcoming days would entail. The smoke from the fires was visible far away from the town, but it didn't affect the air quality where we were. Despite the power outage due to a burnt-down electric substation, the town - which was more like a small village or settlement - didn't feel any different. It was nestled among the vast expanse of the Rocky Mountains, with two main roads lined with houses, hotels, shops, and cafes.
Upon checking into the hotel, I encountered the first hurdle due to the power outage. The card machine was out of order, and the ATMs in town were also out of service. Although I had some cash with me, I didn't want to spend it all on the hotel room as there was no telling what lay ahead.
Rumour had it that one of the town's stores had its generator. A couple of cafes were still open, one located at a gas station and another in a different part of town. I planned to visit the store to purchase some provisions.
The lack of electricity gave the town a tranquil yet eerily deserted feeling. It felt as if an invisible force had swept away the inhabitants, leaving the town untouched yet devoid of life. But while the sun was shining, it gave off an unexpectedly comforting aura. After navigating through the dark corridors of the hotel and managing not to trip over any stairs, I decided to find that store where I could stock up on supplies, unsure of where exactly I should go. I simply began to wander down one of the main roads.
Encounter with the Black Bear
Continuing my stroll through the town, I was confident that I could quickly grasp the lay of the land given its small size. As I walked, I kept an eye out for where people were carrying food from, as it was likely they were visiting the same store with the generator I was in search of.
On the edge of town, I encountered something entirely different and unexpected. Approaching one of the buildings, I noticed a massive black figure rummaging around the flowerbeds at the entrance. It was a huge black bear with glossy, pitch-black fur. The bear had ventured into town, inspecting its surroundings with curiosity, squeezing between parked cars, and rummaging in gardens, possibly in search of a garbage bin for a snack.
Black bears, in general, are less dangerous and more timid than brown bears, often led by their noses and strong sense of smell. Nevertheless, I decided not to provoke it. I stood at a safe distance and watched the bear for a while, contemplating whether I should take a few shots with my camera. 
However, I remembered that pointing a lens at a bear can be perceived as aggression by the bear, as it resembles a large eye staring at them. With the uncertainty of the power outage and the uncertain future in this town scorched on the edges, I decided I didn't need another adventure with a bear. I chose to quietly capture the scene on my phone instead.

Bear Encounter and the Aftermath
The presence of the bear soon drew a crowd, with others stopping to observe and warn passing pedestrians and vehicles. Eventually, a vehicle approached, presumably belonging to the rangers or the police. They didn't interfere with the bear but stayed close by, possibly to ensure the situation didn't escalate.
After some contemplation, I decided it was best to take a different route and continue my search for supplies at the operational store. Looking ahead, I'd like to add that apart from the issues I've mentioned, there are many other things we often forget that depend on electricity. One such issue that doesn't immediately spring to mind is the problem of traffic control.
In this town, without electricity, the traffic lights had ceased to work. This resulted in rather chaotic traffic along the main roads, making it significantly harder to cross the road safely. It was a struggle to understand who had the right of way at intersections, and drivers had to rely heavily on gestures and intuition. It was a poignant reminder of how dependent we've become on electricity for even the most basic tasks.
As an aside, for those who are enamoured with electric cars and are keen to follow the flock without question, I urge you to consider the consequences of such absolute dependence on a single form of energy. Not that I believe I have any chance of halting the march of this societal herd; my goal is merely to navigate these changes without getting trampled.

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