You get two posts today, because I posted during an uneventful time … then the namesake happened 😀
This website’s title has double meaning. For one, I’ve been tagged with being called a bear by some of my friends (and no … it has nothing to do with the gay culture references, but you ain’t going to get out of me how I did get it) and a feed from a bear sounds funny. But moreso, if you have heard me joke about this new chapter in my life I probably at some point of time mentioned something about “Getting Eaten By a Bear”. Which means, I would be quite literally … bear feed … get it now? Or do I need to explain it again, Dad.
Of course, getting eaten by a bear would take me actually seeing a bear; but that means I would actually have to … see .. a … bear.
Ladies and Gentelmen. Boys and Girls. Tonight, I saw a bear.
One of the ways I worked my weightloss over the last few years is by making sure I did some sort of exercise every day (since Thanksgiving 2009). Since my workout stuff only arrived yesterday, I have been maintaining my exercise by hiking. Typically that means, geocaching too. Tonight, after mostly doing non-bear stuff, I realized I haven’t done any exercise and don’t know if the gym at work is open on Saturday nights. So I strapped on my Garmin and went for a hike near the Campbell Airstrip, an old WWII landing spot. It is four miles from my apartment, three miles from where I work, and a half of mile from shops, houses, and U of Alaska Anchorage.
Like most trails around here, there were signs telling me to avoid the bears, watch out for the bears, don’t feed the bears, don’t get eaten by the bears. I have been a good boy, and not done anything I should, but I still shrugged off the concerns and headed into the woods. I was about a mile and a half in, and three geocaches found, when I wandered out of a patch of overgrown area to hear a ruckus up ahead. Someone was yelling at their dog, and their dog was going heywire. I thought maybe it was bear related, so I raised my radar up to keep my senses straight. No sooner did I do that, but I heard a russle in the woods just behind me, and as I turned …there he was … or she was …
Okay, for accuracy … they were ….
Three Black Bears, as clear as day, and no more than 75ft away from me. They all seemed quite small, for the best I could tell, but there they were. I startled them, I think, as they jumped quickly up the side of a small hill and went over towards a road. I tried to get a picture of them, but failed, leaving only a black mass in the grasses.
I wandered on, feeling kinda thrilled I got to see a bear finally, and quickly posted to Facebook. I popped out of the woods, went to find another geocache, didn’t, and decided to head back – this blog already bubbling over in my head.
The trail I had been on followed closely a road heading through the park. On the opposite side of the trail from the road is a dog sled trail. Where I left the trail to ‘not find’ the geocache, a cross trail pulled through heading from the dog sled run over the hiking trail across the road and onward beyond. As I stepped off the road and moved towards my trail, there she was again.
I say she, because she was one of the three, and easily the biggest. She would have come up to my waist while on all fours. Her coat was shiney black, her size broad as she packed on for t he winter ahead. She took one look at me as she crossed the cross trail and lumbered on easily through the brush. What was 75ft before was no more than 30ft now. If she wasn’t clearly moving away from me, I would be concern, and she seemed to know I was there and took no care that I was there. I waited, however, because I guessed that this was one of the three I saw before; good guess actually. A second, much smaller cub, moved deliberately across the same path. This guy didn’t seem to take notice of me at first, but pulled up just on the cross trail to see me, then move a bit quicker after mama. I pulled my phone out and tried to start snapping pictures, not really noticing my zoom sucked for this close and my hand was shaking. The runt jumped across the cross trail soon after, doing his best to keep up with mama, and doing a good job as far as I could tell. Runt gave me the clearest view of any of them. I could see the little guy’s soft fur, his shape of muscles under his pelt, his full shape. My first thought is I could see why people mistake these creatures for cute fuzzy animals, because I almost wanted to pick the little guy up and cuddle him.
My senses remained keen, however, and I kept looking towards the mother. She had turned towards me. Her brown snout and face (like so many stuffed bear toys) clearly facing my way and dipped towards the ground in a view slightly more aggressive than previous. She was closer to 100ft off than the 30ft she was just a minute ago, but I wasn’t going to overstay my welcome now.
Over the next few minutes, I went through the stages of stupidity:
1) Giddy: “Woot Woot, I just saw a bear.”
2) Fear: “I just saw a ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-bear!!!!”
3) Post to Facebook: “I just saw a bear. I bet half of you don’t share this, and the others eat at Chick-fil-a”
4) Denial “That wasn’t a real bear, that’s just one of those you can get down town and hug and squeeze and pet and call George.”
5) Brainlessness (Aka: Darwin Award Nominee): “I bet if I a go back with a fish in my pocket, I could get a better picture.”
I wandered back to my car, without another event occurring. As I was doing so, I looked down at my watch and I realized something cool. I spotted the bear 6 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes after landing in Anchorage. In less than a week, I became face-to-face with the one thing I only joked about coming true, and it came true. I have been here a very short time, and I have see things I could have never seen in Wichita.
I wake every morning to cool crisp air. I see mountains out of my office window. I can walk to an Irish pub for music. I can feel the earth quake from my chair. And if I am lucky, I can walk into the woods, and see a bear.
My God, am I going to like it here!!