Alaska Part 3: About a Black Bear

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So living in Alaska… (can I say living if it was only two months?  I think I can, so I will because we were definitely not there touristing around or visiting friends or family); However, I did feel like I was on an adventure the entire time.  This feeling kept my spirits up on dreary days and when I felt trapped in our room when we didn’t have a car (because a rental is outrageously priced).  Like I mentioned before, we were staying outside of town in the boarding house [below] that I’ve mentioned before.  Since I like my privacy and space, this was not my favorite setup.  I especially thought that visiting with the others in the house while cooking dinner was great fun after I got all but a front row seat to their wild rompings through the paper thin walls (hello stamina…).  And I don’t think I ever successfully convinced them that though I am from Utah I do not have any sisterwives…

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Jonah didn’t mind it here though just as long as I let him play outside and eat rocks (I didn’t really let him).  Plus the landlord had a dog that he was fascinated with.

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We only lived about 2 miles outside of town – if that, so Sunday comes along and I want to go to church in town (and interact with other mom’s and let J play).  I had plenty of time to make it on foot, and the sun was out… oh the precious sun (when the sun is out, you are out – use it or lose it).  I wanted to drink up every ray I could.  So I loaded J into the umbrella stroller.  Of course I knew that there were bears… but hey, I see people walk or bike it all the time, it can’t be that bad, right?  “Just be noisy” they say…

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We walked, inhaled the pristine air, and soaked up vitamin D rich rays as if they were the last.  We made it over half way before we were stopped in our tracks by a black bear (of course…) only 20 or so feet in front of us – I could see his eyes clearly.  He came out of the trees suddenly (not because we were there I’m sure, but because he was on his way to the other side of the street where the water and fish were – a guess).  I hoped that he would keep going… instead he stopped in the middle of the road and turned and just stared at us.  Of course the black bear is easily frightened by loud noises and abrupt movement… but did I remember that?  Not on your life.  My heart and guts were up in my throat suffocating me and my body had turned to stone too heavy to move.  Ha!  Was this really happening to me?  The stupid girl from suburbia ventures out with her finger on the optimism trigger she carries around in her pocket for protection and finds herself eaten by a bear… Great.

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After the longest minute of my life (could have been 1 or it could have been 10 minutes I couldn’t tell you for certain) a truck pulls out of a street a ways behind us… The answer to my most fervent prayer of my life… and the bear runs off into the brush.  Even with the bear gone there was no way I could imagine continuing on foot – home or town.  I hailed the driver down and told him I’d just come across a bear and admitted to him that I was an idiot that needed a ride into town.  Just so happens he was giving a sermon that day at another church about loving thy neighbor (or maybe he never told me the topic, and I just made that part up because I was so happy to see him).  I don’t know your name, but I love you man in the tan over-sized truck that I didn’t catch the model of because I never pay attention to those kinds of details, that most likely lives on that street just before the bridge.  Thank you, and sorry for sweating all over your truck…

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It doesn’t matter where you are, Alaska is a wilderness full of large wild animals that admittedly scare the hell out of me.  Maybe if I had a gun… It was here that I realized how ill equipped I am for life in the big world (more specifically, nature).  Any time I drove off the beaten path to explore a terror would come over me and I just couldn’t get out of my car (oh yeah, we eventually got a car).  I was certain that I was being stalked at any given time by some hungry animal, so I stayed only where there were plenty of other people.  Lame?  Yeah, maybe… but you look a black bear in the eyes, then we’ll talk.

 

 

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1 Comment

  • J says:

    OMG. I’m glad you can write about this with humor in hindsight because that is absolutely terrifying. Thank heavens for that guy in the truck…love your writing just as much as your photography here. xo

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