YEAR: Late 1970's
Location: An Alaskan River
Repeated to me by the gal in this story.
"I think we are lost - let's go back up the river." Unbeknownst to us - we were on a river that had dried up that summer and "thought "we were lost. We were young and very inexperienced at river rafting.
After hours of going back "up" river, pulling a large inflatable raft, we spotted a cabin. Because it was late in the evening, we trudged up to the cabin, only to see the door locked with a padlock. We knew the owner was not far because there were dogs chained in the yard. So we proceeded to wait for him. Getting very late, we set up our tent in the yard and slept in the tent that night.
Very early the next morning, we heard a bear.We quickly crawled out of the tent, and spotted a big brown bear, ambling angrily through the bushes. Having nowhere to go, we ran for the smoke shed where the owner had smoked fish.
Having heard that the only way to scare bears away is to make noise, the gal of the twosome, spotted a big wash tub and a piece of wood and started banging on the tub. When the bear started coming closer, out of curiosity, and making big bear noises, they decided that was NOT the thing to do, stopped making noise and stood perfectly still.
They watched a bear cub that appeared out of no where, punch the tent and stand back, swipe the tent and stand back. It was a good game and the twosome was very very glad they were not in the tent, and grateful to be in the smoke house.
The Mamma bear was trying to run her cub off and proceeded to make noise on one side of the yard and then she'd show up in the bushes on the other side of the yard.
After an hour the bear and cub left, and they got up enough courage, to slowly exit the smoke house and with an ax, broke the lock off the door and entered the mans cabin, for safety and security. The gal wrote a nice note telling the owner that they were sorry about entering his cabin, but they were lost and a bear had been stalking them...and "thank you for the use and comfort of your cabin."
Shortly they heard an airplane overhead and heard it land. It was the Fish and Game Department, looking for the big brown bear that had killed the owner of the cabin!!
Asking directions from the Fish and Game, they put the big inflatable raft back in the water and floated to the pickup point of the pilot who had dropped them off three days earlier. He told then they were NOT lost, that the river had slowed down to a trickle and then picked back up to a raging river. Floating through the narrow spots with not much water for the big raft, the man of the twosome would get out and pull the raft and the gal, through the worst of it. While doing so, he stepped in a pool with "snake-like eels"* in a big cluster, swirling round and round his feet. He jumped and hopped around, stepped into a deeper hole and one of the "eels" went into his hip waders. Scared like anyone would be, he jumped, screaming into the raft, pulled off his boot and sure enough, that snake like thing, fell out of his boot. Neither one of them know who threw the "eel" out of the raft.
And just to show that they are good river floaters, they floated down that same river the next year, only this time, with friends who had a canoe, which was easier to navigate, than the big river raft. The canoer's spent a lot of time waiting for the rafters, because it was so big and slow.
* "snake like eel's" were Arctic Lamprey's
The Blueberry Bear
Year 1987, Nikiski, Alaska
"I'm going up to see if the blueberries are ripe. Be right back."
I jumped in my old green Thunderbird - nicknamed the "green bean" and headed up to the blueberry corner.
I drove past the blueberry patch and turned around, stopped on the side of the road, got out, leaving the car running and the door open,
I walked around the front of the car and stepped down in the ditch and up onto the area where the blueberries were. Humm... they look like they are about ready......WHAT WAS THAT?" I Thought I had seen something move. Looking closer, I did not see anything, so I walked a few steps farther into the thick blueberry bushes.
I saw something move again!! I looked up just in time to see a big brown grizzly stand up on his hind feet and stick his neck out and sniff with his head held high. He probably though I was going to steal HIS blueberries!!
My heart stopped, my feet turned to lead. I just stared back. My heart jump started into high gear, my feet started going backwards, toward the ditch, down the ditch, feeling for the fender of my car, then the hood and the other fender, still staring at the bear. Around the open door, jumped in, slammed the door. I heaved a big sigh of relief. I was in the safety of my car.
OH!! NO!! I had left the door open, when I went to look at the blueberries!! OH!! NO!! I wonder if there is a bear in the back seat?!
My head whipped around, looked to see if a bear was looking at me - NO bear. I put the idling old green car into gear and took off like I had been scared by a bear.
That old bear or his some relation of his, still stake their territory in the blueberry patch. If we go blueberry picking, one packs a big pail and one packs a gun!!