At nearly one million square kilometers of pristine wilderness and with a burgeoning population of grizzly bears and cougars, the forests and mountains of British Columbia are not a good place to get lost.
But for honeymooning British couple Ben and Caroline Davies, reports of their going missing in the Canadian outback were thankfully very much premature.
Having failed to return to Vancouver as planned last week following a road trip to Alaska, anxious relatives raised the alarm. Yet the couple, unaware that their no-show had sparked a major search operation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), happily continued their extended backwoods break oblivious to the concern that was mounting back home in Herefordshire.
After putting out grainy pictures of the newlyweds and a description of their black Mazda pickup, Mounties soon received news of a string of sightings and they were eventually tracked to the town of Lillooet. They had been unwittingly eluding detection by travelling on back roads and camping out under the stars.
"When they were pulled up by one of our officers they were both very surprised that they had been reported as missing. It is a beautiful province and they were totally unaware. They were just having a great vacation," said Sergeant Rob Vermeulen of the RCMP in Vancouver.
Ben, 37 and Caroline, 28, who married last month, were described by their respective families as "experienced outdoorsmen". But Sgt Vermeulen said that while being adept in surviving in the outdoors in Britain was one thing – doing so in the wilds of Canada was quite another matter.
"It would have been better had they let their family know their plans," he said. "A lot of northern BC (British Columbia) feels very unexplored. That was daunting for us at first. If they were lost in that wilderness that would have been a very difficult search," he added. Mr Davies' father Charles, of Buckton in Herefordshire, said he spoke to his son at 2.30am on Tuesday. "We were very relieved and glad they were OK," he said.
The area around Lillooet is popular with tourists who travel to experience the wilderness. As well as bears and cougars, it is home to populations of deer and moose as well as spectacular lake scenery.Reuse content