Wednesday, September 25, 2013

You might live in Juneau if...

Bears in three parts:

1) traffic stops - not for a crossing guard in the middle school crosswalk - but for a law abiding bear. Traffic was slow, but busy in the school zone as it always is at this time of day, and I expected to see 6th graders in the street, but instead got a good look at a loping black bear. The students appeared unfazed as they waited their turn for the crosswalk. Not sure I'd be that cool about a bear trotting towards me.

2) On Saturday evening, while watching a wildlife video about the great salmon run (BBC's Natures Great Events), I hear the garbage can go clunk. I peek out the window and see a bear rump less than two feet away. When the can didn't yield it's goods, he was off to somewhere else.

3) In the news: Bear looking for night cap in Juneau bar JUNEAU, Alaska (AP & KINY) — If only all unwelcome bar guests were this obliging. A black bear walked into the bar at the Alaskan Hotel in downtown Juneau on Monday night. Bartender Ariel Svetlik-McCarthy says she freaked out and yelled, "No bear! Get out! No! You can't be in here!" The bear complied, leaving the bar within seconds. State biologist Ryan Scott says it's rare for black bears to go inside Juneau businesses, but they have wandered inside homes before. One wandered in to Auke Bay Elementary School a couple of weeks ago after classes had concluded for the day.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Blackerby Ridge

After hitting the Labor day sales at Fred Meyer, Mr. X and I decided to take a hike. Mr. X called B and we settled on Blackerby ridge for the day. After lunch we set off on the trail.

Despite the rainy weather we had the previous days, the trail was in pretty good shape through the woods. We took our time, talking and sharing movie recommendations. At one rotten tree on which we were marvelling at the pumpkin colored fungus, we were greeted by a short-tailed weasil. This little guy was orange brown with a buff underside. He zipped around investigating who we were and what we were doing. Mr. X says he was saying, "I can take you!"

We finally broke out of the trees and trudged out way through the now trail with stream running through it. Mr. X and B stopped to eat blueberries. We then crossed a mushy meadow and climbed some more elevation to a drier meadow. We sat down for a rest and a spruce grouse flew up next to us. After checking us out she proceeded to eat blueberries within 6 feet of us. They aren't called fool hens for nothing.

We hiked up the trail another 100 feet and then sat down for a luxurious dinner with ptarmigan glacier behind us and the Mendenhall wetlands, Auke Bay and Lemon Creek area below. We had a cheese and apple plate, cracked pepper trisuits, chocolate and nuts, Chicken and rice, Chicken ala king and the thing keeping us going through out - red vines. B did some after dinner entertainment - reading Ender's Game.

On the way down the mountain we stopped and picked some blueberries. They were nicely sun ripened and although the easiest spots were picked over, the hardest spots to reach still had large berries, just waiting to be picked. We filled my nalgene bottle. And Sunday I made blueberry muffins to share at a potluck dinner.