Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hollie's Bear Encounter

The picture is not the bear that Hollie encountered, but one that we saw last year.

We spent last night at Squirrel Creek State Park. This is a beautiful small park located on the Richardson Highway about 80 miles North of Valdez. We got a site that was right by the creek and had a great time cooking hot dogs and burgers over our roaring fire. We had purchased about 30 pieces of firewood (for $10) at a roadside honor system place that had stacks of wood priced  at $10, $15, $20, $25, $30 and $50. We bought from this place last year and the wood is very good. They have a box by their driveway and you are on your honor to pay. Previously, on this trip, we have paid as much as $1 a stick for wood.

When we checked in this campground, I noticed a sign stating that firewood would be delivered to the campground at 6 & 9 pm. So when I was approached by a young woman who asked if I knew why the firewood had not been delivered, I told her I did not, but that if she wanted some of our wood, I would sell her 6 sticks for $5 which was less that what we paid for some and more than what we had paid for others. I figured it was a good deal since they would otherwise not have any wood. Then, a guy from her group came over with the money and since I'm too short to reach inside the truck, I told him to just get 6 pieces of wood. The guy moved the wood around until he had picked out the biggest and best pieces and he took *seven* pieces. Since Hollie was not around, I thought I'd best not get into a confrontation in remote Alaska over firewood. But it did anger me that I was trying to be helpful and then, in my opinion, I get shafted. So much for trying to do a good deed.

Before we started our fire we went out for our workouts. The only place to run or bike was the highway and we were located at a very hilly section. Hollie did not want to get too far away and he wanted to ride back and forth until he got his desired distance. I did the same, except that I ran 4 miles and walked 1 mile. I got back before he finished and got the fire started. When he finally returned to the campsite, he appeared to be very agitated and excited. As he explained his bear encounter, I quickly understood his elevated state. He said that he was riding up hill when a grizzly started across the road about 20-30 yards in front of him. The bear reared up and Hollie was sure he was about to be attacked. Then, the bear quickly turned and ran in the opposite direction. We had a good laugh about this as we figured that the bear had never seen anyone riding that road on a Cat Tryke which is a three wheel tryke where the rider's butt is about 4 inches off the ground.

We are now in Valdez, Alaska where the high temp today was 55 degrees, with mostly rain. We found that we could workout at the community college for a $10 per person fee. Hollie did that because he wanted to do a weight lifting session, as well as walk/run on the treadmill. I went outside and although I got quite wet, I was never really uncomfortable as I ran 6 miles and walked 1 mile.

We will be in Valdez for at least 3 nights and if the weather improves, we would like to do a boat trip out into Prince William Sound. There are also two very nice museums which I will visit. Of course, there is the fish hatchery which attracts eagles and bears. The back drop for this is Prince William Sound where there are whales, sea lions, otters and lots of salmon.

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