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Don't Feed the Bears

John Rowland

Posted on March 8, 2020 20:43

2 users

Travel is supposed to be a generally-positive adventure. Sometimes, though, people get more than they bargained for.

It sounded so great. "Why don't you come out and spend some time at my cabin," Troy asked.

We initially envisioned a warmly-lit, cozy cabin with a roaring fire, furnished with nice beds, kitchen and bathroom facilities, cute lace curtains; plenty of R&R, playing board games, good food/drink, great hiking/fishing, etc.; a perfect venue to spend some quality time.

So we naturally took him up on it.

It was early fall in Alaska.

Troy, an Alaskan bush pilot, would fly us to his cabin's location, which he did. Departing from the Kenai Peninsula with our loaded supplies, we flew across the Cook Inlet in a prop plane, landing on an isolated beach.

Troy helped unload, then pointed telling us brusquely, "The cabin's up there, about 40 yards beyond the treeline. I'll pick you up in a few days." He then said goodbye and took off. "Bye," we waved.

So there we were - hundreds of miles from anything or anyone. All alone. Uncomfortably removed and isolated, as naïve and green as any tenderfoot would-be adventurer could be.

When we found the cabin, our hearts sank.

Any normal person would think it a run-down shack: no water, no electricity, a leaking roof and an outhouse some 30 yards further into the woods.

So we learned the hard way that a "cabin" in Alaska can be a very relative thing to those of us in the Lower 48.

Anyway, inside our hut later it was lunchtime, and just as we pondered what to eat, things went from bad to worse: there were loud, heavy scratching noises on the door coming from outside.

A very large Alaskan brown bear had dropped by, also considering what to have for lunch. . .us!

We evidently provided a new, fresh scent for our good bear friend to investigate. There's an Indian saying: "When a pine needle falls in the forest, the eagle sees it, the deer hears it, and the bear smells it."

So after the scratching finally stopped, we allowed some time to pass, choosing then to tip-toe outside to see what was up.

Our sizeable, furry carnivore was still there, lurking over by the outhouse. We had a shotgun and a small-caliber rifle, that's it. But we figured that after firing one shot he would go running off into the woods, right?

So with guns pointed toward the sky. . .bang!

Immediately after the fired shots, the bear did not flinch, move, blink. . .nothing. . .for some four or five very long seconds; he was staring right at us.

Then after our lives had passed before us, Ursus arctos gyas slowly turned and walked away.

Any hope of fun was now gone; it was survival time. Fresh water was a half-mile away. Whoever had to fetch water did so under armed convoy.

So, if you ever go to or re-visit Alaska during Fat Bear Week or whenver, have a great time.

Just don't feed the bears . . .

John Rowland

Posted on March 8, 2020 20:43


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