Da Bears

July 05, 2008

Filed in: Alaska

OMG you guys we did it! We went on our bear safari and we survived—we survived the tiny, rattly little Piper Cub flying mere feet above the towering cliffs and angry gray ocean and huge threatening clouds of Cook Inlet, we survived the landing-on-the-sand business, and we survived seeing lots of bears, at first very far away, and then closer and closer and closer and then, right when we were getting ready to leave and our guard was down, VERY close. Which was both tremendously cool and a little bit scary.

This big guy (they use pig terms, don’t ask me why, it seems a little disrespectful, so the males are “boars” and the “females” are sows) who was too close to our little ATV buggy cart turned his head and sniffed the wind and looked straight at us for a minute too long, like he was wondering if he had time to kill and eat all before he went back to clamming on the tidal flats.

Our guide (our very nice but young and completely inexperienced guide, who’s not even from Alaska and hasn’t even been doing this bear thing for more than 8 weeks total) whispered in a low voice, “I think he smells that muffin box in your backpack.” Great. Killed by our own inability to eat breakfast before our 7:30 a.m. call at the teeny tiny airstrip.

But then the bear thought better of us and ambled off. Man, they have big behinds. Can I be petty and say that? Even the youngish girl bears, who “only” weigh 600-700 pounds, have a lot of junk in that there bear trunk. Every one of them looks like they pulled on a big hairy pair of bear pants before they climbed out of the bush to do their tourist thing. Given that each of us came to Alaska with exactly one pair of pants (what were we thinking? hello? Alaskans don’t even own shorts), we’re starting to look a little hairy-pantsed ourselves, so we could totally relate.

We saw two different sets of bear cubs, wildly cute, and here I’d love to show you a picture, but guess what? We forgot to charge the camera battery so we got exactly two pictures off before the thing died. So, trip of a lifetime, all in our heads. What can I say, at least we had our bear pants on.

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