Glacading with a Black Bear

Some Photos:

Some moments in Alaska are magical and you know you need to take a moment just to pause, look around and breathe it all in.  As Jake and I sat next to his first black bear way up a steep snowy avalanche shoot it was truly one of these moments.  We almost did not try for the bear as it was so high but we finally decided to trek up and were surprised although very steep the avalanche shoots were very stable and we were able to quickly toe in and work our way up the mountain.  The whole time you could look down at our dingy which quickly became the size of an ant below us and we were of course concerned for the potential of falling through holes in the snow.  Once we made it higher, off to our side a bear crossed the snow field and was out of range. Then I spotted another one that took us climbing up a muddy cliff while hanging onto brush to pull ourselves into position.  As soon as we came over the rise and were able to stand up and clear the snow out of the scope, the bear walked out up the hill above us and Jake, with heart beating from the climb took the bear with 2 shots.  It was so steep the bear almost slid down to us.  We sat next to the bear, looking over almost all of Bettles bay and way into Port Wells. It was an amazing site to view and there was even a cruise ship working it’s way up Port Wells.  We could not help but think what a different experience we were having right then compared to the folks maybe looking out of the window at all the high peaks and majesty of the area from the cruise ship.

After a prayer of thanks we each sat down beside the bear, grabbed a paw and began glacading down the hill.  You may be asking what is Glacading?! Here is a definition from google – “The sport of sliding down a mountain on snow and/or ice. It is a technique used by climbers to get off a mountain fast when adverse weather conditions move in. For climbers they use an ice ax to stop their free fall at the bottom.” Well if you can picture two guys crusing down the hill in some what of a controlled decent screaming and hollering and laughing and doing our best to use our feet to control the speed and angle all while a bear is flying around around you than you get the picture.  You could not help but think what it would be like if the bear came alive while cruising down the hill, now that would have been something worth writing about.  Needless to say we were off the mountain very quick and glad to get in the dingy which was almost floating away and work our way soaking wet back to the boat.

There are many magical moments in the sound but being with Jake and sharing this experience was a real highlight for the summer.  Reminds me of a time I once saved his father from a ………. o.k. that is another story for another time:)
Here are a few more highlights from the trip
• 3 Octopus in the pots
• Did well on shrimp in Granite Bay and Bettles – will be eating calamari and shrimp for dinner.
• Triplets had a blast playing on the shore in Bettles and Ziegler and hanging out watching movies with Granny on the boat.
• Exceptional weather, mostly sunny and flat seas – one windy night in Granite but otherwise banner weather.
• Flying a kite while crossing port wells – it died and is lost but we will try again
• Great fellowship with our boating buds – Charles and Anne and Ryan and Amanda and a treat to have Granny Linda on board.
Until the next adventure
Sundog Out!