Friday, August 8, 2008

never thought i'd say this

I'm watching the Olympics opening ceremonies this evening, but I'm thinking about my ride home.
The usual route on an unusually (for this summer) sunny evening. Into the park on my road bike down the Moose Track Trail, then the Tour trail over the Airstrip Trailhead. I stopped for a moment at the bridge, then headed to the parking lot. That's where the police tape was.

Three Anchorage police cars, a state trooper truck. I asked the trooper what was going on. Of course, I had an idea. And it was another bear attack, just a ways up the trail. I hadn't encountered any signs on the way into the park. The trooper told me officers were combing the woods looking for the bear. Then he collected his gun and other gear and headed for the trails.

This trailhead is two miles from my house. It's part of my commute.
The bridge in the background crosses the salmon stream where the bears catch the fish.

I miss mountain biking by myself on my favorite trails. I don't want to be this nervous making my way through the woods on my commute. I don't know what the solution is to this bear issue but hundreds of Anchoragites are staying away from our favorite park. Meanwhile, this brown bear has taken up residence and is defending her turf and cubs. I have a feeling that if they find her in the woods, she'll be shot. I wasn't thinking this a month ago, but a bear rug is sounding kind of nice right now.

Note: I delayed posting this on Friday evening because I was so darn tired. That's why the link to the local paper is for August 9. I hope that I never face such a situation, but if I do, I hope I can approach it with courage.

Friday night I had three different dreams about bears coming after me on various trails. Hackles up, cubs in tow, me with just a short club to fend one off. In one, I kicked the bear. My only means of escape was a BMX bicycle! Stay tuned...


Diana said...

Sadly, I think the only safe solution for this bear and her cubs, is their death.

So many people use these trails and I just don't think "closing a few trails", will keep people safe.

When I moved here, 18 years ago, I never thought I'd condone such a thing.

Alaska's Dirt said...

Those bears shouldn't be put down....and can't they transport the cubs elsewhere? We have become indulgent, greedy and self absorbed....why not close that area down for a month or two.....There needs to be an alternative solution to this problem and we have the money and resources to solve it.

bikegirl said...

It's a tough issue. The cubs have learned that when they see a human, they should give chase instead of going away the way a black bear would. Brown bears have a huge range and I don't know how they could relocate all three of them together.

When I've encountered bears in the past, I've felt awed, honored and only a little scared. Now I'm worried about my safety and the safety of other people. I've only biked on the Rover's Run trail once since the June attack and I only did it because I was with Jon.

As for the greedy part, we Alaskans are the greediest. As one person told me recently, entitlements have taken over as the opiate of the masses. With all the money the state has, according to this person, they aren't allocating extra funding to resolve these wildlife issues. Instead we'll get our "energy rebate" but that's another topic.