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THE PASSAGE NORTH

----The Passage north from Washington through coastal British Columbia to Southeast Alaska is one of the finest wilderness voyages possible in a small boat. These tales record a few experiences to give a flavor of this marvelous trip to the north.

BEARS


-----She should have known better. Her friends told her but she ignored them. They were hiking from Berg Bay up a trail through grassy meadows bordering a stream. They had traveled together from their sailboat in the bay, for about three miles, when the woman wanted to return to the boat. "We must stay together," the experienced boat skipper said. There was bear sign along the trail and she knew bears rarely attacked a group of people.

----"See you at the boat," she said as she disappeared alone back down the trail.

-----She walked into a sow Brown Bear who had cubs - a dangerous situation. The bear attacked, biting her in the neck and mauling her thigh. With good sense, the badly injured woman curled into a fetal position and played dead. Fortunately, she is a nurse so when the bear left she immediately took first aid - legs up, bleeding staunched, and lay in agony until her friends returned down the trail. The boat skipper ran back to the boat to summon aid - a trip that had required 3 hours was run in 45 minutes on the return. She called for help on Ch 16 and there was soon a response from a boat that could relay her urgent request back to Wrangell. A float plane was off with an EMT and in less than an hour was skillfully landed on the stream near the injured woman. She was flown down to Seattle hospitals. Although seriously injured, she will survive.

-----The next day we were anchored in Berg Bay and heard the reports of the injury. The Forest Service wisely determined that it was not a vicious bear and they did not hunt and kill the sow for the blunder that the human made.

Dinner at Berg Bay Dock

-----After a buggy night at Berg, we headed down to Anan and anchored. w miles away at Anan Bay where the Forest Service maintains a bear observatory. It is an exposed anchorage, but the weather was calm. Chris, on Rana Verde, had accompanied us on a walk to the observatory several years earlier and we had encouraged George and Penny, on Wanderer, to join us this year.

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Anchored at Anan; Rowing Ashore

-----Together with our companions on Halcyon, son Brad and grandson Bryce, there were seven us bunched together walking up the trail making lots of noise to warn bears of our approach. Bears are seldom aggressive if not with cubs and not startled. It was disconcerting, however, to realize from the numerous scat piles that our trail was the main 'highway' for bears. They were heading to the falls on Anan Creek where salmon concentrated on their summer return to their spawning grounds.

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Along The Trail

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Didn't Make It; Watch Your Step; Especially Heading for the Outhouse!

-----The Forest Service has built an observatory overlooking the creek. From the two decks of the blind, there are excellent views of the bears.

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Bryce at the Blind

-----The bears are accustomed to people so it is an excellent opportunity to watch them, at close range, do what bears normally do.

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Fishing

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Fishing Techniques: Patiently Wait, Jump In With Four Feet, Pretend to be a Rock

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Walking Around

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Snooping

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Up Close and Personal

(05 - 06)

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