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Bipolar Prince of Wales Weather & Bears at the River
By: jitterymoose , 4:17 PM GMT on August 29, 2011
It's on again, off again for the rain here. At the moment, it's off again (although, it's raining in Klawock). Conversations in the house went like this yesterday:
Hey! It's not raining! Oops ... now it is... Hey! It stopped raining! Wait ... now it is ... Whoa! It's stopped -- (and Tim says, "Honey, cut it out.") ... but, now it's raining again... :/
We finally gave up, pulled on our XtraTuffs and slickers and went fishing. We honestly caught two dog salmon and dishonestly snagged (and released) about 20 humpies (pinks). Right now, behind me, the dehydrator has been running for hours turning our OTHER caught salmon into jerky (pretty good jerky for a first-timer, if I do say do myself!).
But Saturday was the biggest and best surprise. We went to Hollis to the garage sale for the Fire-Rescue team, and then headed down the Hydaburg Road, taking the left to go in to the 12 mile cabin, but past that turn toward Dog Salmon Fish Pass.
"You need to see the bears," Tim said.
"I'm scared of bears," said I and my daughter.
"They've never had a problem," Tim assured us.
So... we parked and walked the gravel path down to the bear viewing platform above the fish ladder (which, I'll point out here, the fish do not use). ANYWAY...
There were two HUGE (for their species) Black Bears in the river fishing. The platform is right above the falls, and there were fish EVERYWHERE, trying desperately to climb the levels. We ended up seeing six Black Bears when we counted them up. They each had their own way of fishing, and there was a juvie who, when he caught his first fish, ripped out the belly meat and then pushed the rest of the fish back into the water (after looking around as if looking for someone watching him do this), and went after another. When a larger black bear came up behind him, he thought better of it and stripped the next fish bare. I'm going to post a video (if I can figure out how to do it) and link it here).
But that wasn't the real surprise. I lost sight of this juvie black bear and walked to the end of the viewing platform and back onto the path to see if I could get a picture of him by the falls. I looked down and THERE HE WAS WITH A FISH IN HIS MOUTH NOT MORE THAN 10 FEET AWAY! We stopped. We stared at one another. We BOTH hesitated. I didn't move. HE backed slowly down the bank and went across the ditch, taking care to go further out and around before heading up the bank again. I just STOOD there. When I was sure he was gone, I walked, unsteadily, back to the platform.
"You okay?" Tim asked (because he hadn't seen what had happened).
"I think I'm gonna cry," I replied.
It was terrifying and beautiful and indescribable, and I don't know WHY I wanted to tear up, but I did. I'm sure that bear and I stared at each other for less than 3 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. And it's not one of those "oh, I had some kind of nature epiphany" type of things, it was something else. I need to figure out what that something else was....
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