Category Archives: Bear

Is it September yet?

Summer in Alaska is a singular experience.

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For starters, Alaskan summers are visually stunning. You don’t even want to blink let alone close your eyes for 8 of every 24 hours. There is too much to miss. This is nature donning her Sunday best every day for 3 months, and there is a wealth of activity! The fishing, hiking, boating, wildlife spotting…When the outdoors screams at you like that, you run to her.

Which means, June through August, you stay the F#$% awake.

Ironically, as luck (and biology) would have it, Alaskan summers are also treacherous.

Alaska is bursting with life, the more deadly of which (just like you) wakes up for summer. (Another reason to keep your eyes open ALL THE TIME). There are 3 types of bear, large unpredictable moose and big cats but there are also some pretty scary little guys.

As my son reminded me yesterday:

“Mom I think I saw a wasp. It was about 2 inches long with a HUGE stinger and red stripes…”

(FYI that was not a wasp)

Even some of the botanicals are out to get you. Digging in the garden last week I brushed up against a plant know to scar human flesh before remembering,

“oh right, poisonous…”

(I’m fine by the way.)

The offensive green was removed immediately as I can’t be expected to stay out of the garden…all summer…in Alaska…

Like I said, singular.

Severely singular…thrilling, intense, ubiquitously exhausting…

(No I’m pretty sure that’s a thing)

All of the above.

And the effect this has on those who live here is curious. About the end of July a strange sensation begins to take hold and suddenly, shockingly, bizarrely (for an inhabitant of a place with such a short summer)…

Winter starts to seem like a pretty cool concept.

(Eagle River with bear and Eagle River without. You decide)

Yeah winter, it’s dark, people sleep, there’s no bear, the poisonous plants are gone and the life cycle of the 2 inch red stripped ‘wasp’ has ended.

Winter…there’s an idea…

Is it September yet?

 

Domesticating Animals

 

A summer of ‘wild’ life.

 

Of course they want me to eat the flowers, silly goose. Why else would they plant them in moose sized snack boxes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm telling you, Ralphy, we crack this safe and it's biscuits and gravy for the rest of our lives!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mine, mine, mine, mi...Oh! pardon me Mr. Baldy sir! So sorry. Didn't see you there. My bad. (ahem) His, his, his, his...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, for those of us who still find maturing a confusing if not altogether pointless enterprise…

Snnfff! Hey Sam, do you smell that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Dude! In the pool? How many times do I have to tell you - NOT in the pool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you all had a wonderfully wild summer.

Be beary beary quiet…

Shortly after moving to Alaska I was told a story about a man who met a bear. Alright, you caught me. I was told several stories about quite a lot of men who met numerous bear. Some girl meeting bear stories too, and even a few kids/bear stories. (Far less of that last variety though – thank GOD)

Uncle! I said Uncle!

As time went on so did the tales only more often involving people I actually knew. Soon I even had a few stories of my own. However, all tales considered, no tale would ever make as deep an impression as that first tale.

All bear stories are unforgettable, but only a few give you nightmares years after they’ve been told.

The story involved a man who, apparently, had WAY too much time on his hands. The bear in question was a Polar.

One afternoon the man spied a huge Polar bear outside a plate glass window in an isolated building somewhere on the tundra of Alaska’s North Slope. Perhaps lonely, certainly bored and quite possibly incredibly stupid, the man elected to engage the bear in a little mid day animal taunting. He parked his body next to the window and beat on it until he had the bear’s attention.  Then, in what would prove to be a bad move of epic proportions, he waved both hands and shouted  “nah nah nah nah nah, you can’t get me!” over and over and over.

Well, for about 90 seconds, anyway.

A minute and a half of buffoonery was all it took for the bear to decide it was time to educate this guy on just what the largest (or second largest) land carnivore on Earth can and cannot “get.”

The bear stood on his hind legs, shattered the glass with his forearms, grabbed the annoying little man and ran off with him between his teeth.

Just because bear don’t like to eat human, doesn’t mean bear won’t eat human.

The point of this story is simple: BEARS ARE DANGEROUS. Make no mistake. They do not want to be best buddies. They don’t want to be casual acquaintances. They want us to leave them alone. ALONE. Even if our trash is tasty and our fishing bountiful. When bear meets man, MAN is expected to drop kibble and walk away.

Nothing to see here. These aren’t the rubbish bins you are looking for. Move along human.    

I, for one, am perfectly happy to oblige. I don’t leave food out, ever. I walk noisily and heavily armed through the woods, always. And, if my children so much as whisper the world “bear” without following it up with “danger! Run away! Protect your neck!” they must drop and give me 50.

 

Now, with that established…

And everyone nothing but serious about bear from here on…

I gotta show you something…

Isn’t that just the cutest thing you ever saw?

No? How about this?