Sunday, January 06, 2008

He may as well be a “Bear Whisperer”

I have wanted to post this for some time now but things have been busy and I have been sick with a cold for over a week now . . . So much for a healthy New Year as I have had this sore throat and cough since the 31st. This had been in my ‘ready folder’ but I had not looked into it lately so enjoy.

I have breakfast every Saturday with a few friends and one of them is a very intriguing person. He and another person have cabins out in “bush” Alaska which is a special place during the summer months.

It sometimes defies logic and some might say common sense but once you see the magic of this place it is truly an extraordinary location. Almost surreal as you fly into the tiny airstrip surrounded by many trees and vegetation all around as you taxi into one of the several spots for small bush planes. Tundra tires help with the slightly uneven landing strip but it is not a bad place to land.

You get out and slowly take in everything around you when you start to realize that reality is suspended for the moment. Do you want to get back into the plane and leave fast back to what you know is real or do you engage this incredible adventure into the wild with many unknowns that lie ahead?

It is not long before you see them . . .








This is not right . . . it is not supposed to be this way . . . but there they are wandering around the planes and moving back towards the compound where the cabins are. What I see is strange to me as I have always known from things I had heard and read that what lie before me was not something that you normally find.








Here were grizzly and black bears wandering around together. At times the bears playfully grabbing each other each exhibiting their dominancy that nature gives them.









Walking into the compound and I use that term lightly as there are no huge high electric fences like in the movie Jurassic Park but one small wire that wouldn’t do much to protect you.

I think it was more to keep them out of the outhouse as they had already torn off the door so they could see what or who was inside. It is somewhat uncomfortable sitting there doing your business when a huge bear paw comes over the opening and a head looks inside. If you were not finished going at that point it was probably scared out of you and all that was left is trying to figure out how to wipe while watching outside. It reminded me of my Army days where the latrines had no partitions separating the toilets. I guess you go where you can but this one was for the books.








These bears have been around this compound for six or more years now and it is an amazing thing when nature and man come together in a good way. The interaction as the ‘bear whisperer’ works his way among them and the playfulness showed is almost beyond belief.















The cubs playing while mama is close-by and the sounds of the different animals around is awe inspiring and somewhat frightening at the same time as you know that this is not what one would experience on any particular day of their life.









The time seems to stand still as you bear witness to all that is happening around. Slowly the day’s sunlight diminishes but not totally in the twilight of the Arctic summer. It is time to relax and hang out around the “campfire”.









Since it does not get dark it is more of a place to gather around and let the day settle into a quietness not found in the city or many other places.









Day is done and the thought of another trip to the outhouse makes one want to hold it until the morning. Should I brave it and conquer the normal fear that lies within and calmly go . . . ? Well that in itself is another story!

Some of you may be thinking that this is some “Grizzly Man” kind of outing but it is not that way in any shape of the imagination.

Timothy Treadwell spent time among the bears inside their habitat and his camp literally blocked the trail access to the fishing grounds the bears used. He foolishly stayed long after the fish and food sources had long died out making himself part of their food chain. Reviewing the footage showed he was not in the frame of mind to protect himself or his girlfriend and both lost their lives in 2003. Too many here in Alaska it was not unexpected.

Ice

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