Bear Protection

by Britta on 11 June 2009

in General,Travel

TrooperBack in Alaska, back in Seward, back at Bear Lake. Trooper and I have had a couple of small adventures since I’ve arrived, but most of my time has been taken up with the operations of the B&B, so I haven’t been able to start my “New Things in Seward (or the Peninsula)” project. I’ve seen a few moose walking through the lake, and some on the side of the highway. The red salmon have started running up Bear Creek and through the lake, and have started to stage in front of the inlet stream. The bald eagles have been putting on a good show since the salmon arrived. I have also seen a few bear tracks, but no bears.

Trooper and I hiked the Iditarod Trail along the lake a couple times this week. On Wednesday, the day was bright and sunny, and pretty warm (for Seward). We hiked beyond the island, made it to a nice viewpoint and turned around (stuff to do–sigh). I was on the lookout for bear sign, but didn’t even see a track. Today when we hiked, the conditions were totally different. It’s cold today, cloudy but not yet raining, and we only made it to the first bridge (where I saw that huge bear last year) before we turned around. Of course, Trooper didn’t find anything amiss–so many smells! so many sounds! so many squirrels to chase!–but I was on high alert the whole time.

Some of our guests hiked the trail after I had done it on Wednesday, and they turned around because they thought they saw a big bear track. I didn’t see the track as they described it today, and it hasn’t rained since then, but I was still worried about what I was going to meet. The brush was thick, the weather cool, the woods eerily quiet–the conditions seemed ripe for a bear encounter. Every movement drew my full attention, every corner had me slowing down and leaning out to see down the trail. I brought my bear spray this time, and carried on a one-sided conversation with Trooper, but none of that assuaged my fears. The hair on the back of my neck never stood up, though, and Trooper never heard or smelled anything he considered worth barking at. Still, when we made it back to the road at the end of the hike, I breathed a sigh of relief–and prided myself on having survived yet again. Courage in the face of danger, or something like that. Only if Trooper’s with me, though. He walks in front.

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