Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jen's 30th Birthday & A Word on Bears

Jen's 30th was spent in Soldotna, Alaska; on the Kenai River. A wonderful birthday dinner complete with triple chocolate cake (why have only single or double chocolate?) was prepared by the folks at "Kenai Vineyards" (the elder Hyer's place on the River). The day itself was spent going for a hike in the woods (see above) where there was uncomfortably close signs of bear nearby. At REI, where Chris works, people often ask Chris, "So, are there bear at such-n-such place?" His standard reply has become, "Is such-n-such place in Alaska?" They often pause and then get it - there are bears EVERYWHERE in this state. People bring bear protection of various sorts, from bear spray to guns. There was even a black bear spotted in our neighborhood a few weeks ago. There are a few things that people can do to decrease their odds of a bear attack - go hiking in groups (a bear has never killed anyone in a group of 6 or more), talk loudly while hiking (don't surprise bears), and stay FAR AWAY from any dead animals (bear food) and cubs (baby bears). However, no matter what you do, nothing decreases your odds to "zero" of a bear attack, so it is wise to be aware and carry protection. Our good friend, Steve, was just charged by a bear in the middle of an open field last week. There was no precipitating factor, he was not a threat to the bear. Luckily, Steve actually teaches a class about bear safety and shooting. The bear charged, he shot, and the bear ended up dead. He was a teenage bear, which are said to be the biggest troublemakers - something that must run in all species :)

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