After much debate and denial on the part of Eric and I, it is official, bears really do exist in the state of Alaska!
You see, for months now there have been tons of bear sightings in Anchorage and several attacks on humans. We've read the stories, have seen lots of pictures, and have a friend who seems to see bears almost daily. Despite the fact that we have actively gone out on numerous drives, specifically looking for bears, we had not seen one in the wild. Eric and I were starting to think that everyone around here must be delusional (after all, we haven't seen any bears), the pictures and stories were part of a huge plot, and that bears don't really live in Alaska. Just when we were about to come to terms with the fact that bears don't actually roam the streets, forests, and trails of Anchorage...the phone rang!
Our friend, Cathy, the one who seems to see bears several times a week, was calling. She was calling to tell me that there was a bear in the trash can in her backyard, it had been there for around a half an hour and it was making a mess of the trash! She was also letting me know that after failed attempts to get a hold of her husband, she had called Eric and he was on his way up the hill to her house. Well...anyone who knows me knows that I wasn't going to let Eric partake in this great adventure while I was hanging out at home with the boys, cleaning house. I hung up the phone, grabbed my camera, yelled to the boys to get their shoes on and we were out the door in a flash. We didn't even bother turning off the t.v.!
We pulled up the driveway of Cathy's house just after Eric had arrived. We pull in and see Cathy standing outside, up on her balcony, waving to the boys and I to stay in the car and Eric standing outside of his car with his .44 handgun drawn! It was quite a scene and boy, talk about the drama! Cathy had the best vantage point of the bear from her balcony perch, so as soon as the bear was otherwise occupied, she motioned us to make a run for the house. We ran as fast as we could and slammed the door shut behind us!
It was humorous for me to see Eric with his gun drawn when we pulled up, because he's not usually about drama. I later found out that apparantly, the bear had heard Eric pull up, it peeked over the fence at him and they had a brief staredown before the bear got down and continued to mutilate and devour the contents of the trashcan. Considering that the bear was only about 15 ft. from where Eric was standing and that there was only a wooden fence between he and the bear, I guess Eric decided at some point that it would be a wise thing to pull his gun out. He had a clear shot of the bear and could have easily taken it down, but there wasn't any real threat of danger and that's not what we're about, so we all went about our business.
Once inside the house, we ran up onto the balcony for a better look at the bear and its antics. Despite the fact that there were nine of us watching it, and loudly cajoling it to leave, that darn bear still stuck around for another 10-15 minutes. We had contemplated using bear spray on it, but we were enjoying the adrenaline rush of having it around. We finally just let it leave on it's own free-will.
Although I enjoyed our first bear sighting tremendously, my favorite part of the event was when the bear finally decided to leave. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't my favorite part because he left, it was my favorite part because of what he left. On his way out, that bear had the nerve to stop and take a big dump, right in the middle of the backyard! I may not have been positioned in a way that I was able to get many good pictures of the bear, however, I was lucky enough to get that on film!