EDMONTON -- His encounter with a grizzly bear lasted just a few seconds, but a Parks Canada wildlife conflict specialist has been left with one heck of a story to tell.
In a YouTube video, Etienne Cardinal told how his leisurely bike ride down the popular trail near Jasper, Alta., on Saturday night came to an abrupt end when he heard roaring coming from the right side of the brush.
"By the time I hit the brakes, the bear was on the other side and came behind me. I could just see this brown thing moving around, it was too fast to actually see what was happening," he said in the video.
"I'm not sure if he pushed me off my bike or if I jumped off my bike, but then I was screaming, punching, whatever, just trying to protect myself."
The bear hit Cardinal on the side of his back with his big paw and then tried to bite him.
John Wilmhurst, resource conservation officer at Jasper National Park, said the grizzly instead bit into a can of bear spray inside Cardinal's backpack.
"The bear got the full effect of that in his face and high-tailed it down the trail," Wilmhurst said, adding that Cardinal also was hit with a plume of spray.
"He got a fair bit on him ... that's what he complained most about. It's very painful. It gets in your eyes, your lungs, it makes it very difficult to breathe. It's quite debilitating."