Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lurking Nanook in the Snow

Do you see anything lurking in the snow? Look closely before scrolling down...

Now try again.... See it? There. Yep. You've found it.

Here, I zoomed in for you.

Okay, so here's the story. On Sunday night, my friends Melissa, Chad, and Mike came over for dinner and a movie. Then we (including Quya) decided to go look for polar bears -- safely in Chad's car, that is. We drove a long way on the road that leads to the fish camp, which looks like a frozen ghost town (pictures forthcoming), and eventually leads to Point Barrow. We stopped when we saw a police car at the fish camp; he was shining a bright light across the road towards the ice. We slowed down and saw a beautiful polar bear. Not only that, the Northern Lights were glimmering in the background. But it doesn't stop there. Shooting stars were streaking across the sky.

Needless to say, we were in awe.

Eventually, we struck up a conversation with the cop. He said, "I'd advise you to stay in the car."

Duly noted.

He then added, "However, polar bears can open cars up like a beer can."

The bear pawed at some ice and then lay down for a bit.

We drove around more, looking for other bears. The cop told us that there were a total of nine bears (three males, two or three females, some cubs) wandering around in the area. These bears had been roaming through the dumpsters at the tribal college, Ilisagvik, and gnawing on some leftover whale bones left out at the fish camp. Too close to town, so the cops have been attempting to scare them away from town.

Side note: When I went to the college's Web site today, this notification popped up:

Back to Sunday's story.

We drove around some more, looking for a mama bear and some baby bears. None to be found.

At least we got to see this male bear though and only fifty yards away. 

Photo Credit: Chad!

Unfortunately, when we returned to this male bear, two men were out there, ready to hunt it. One was on a snow machine and the other on foot with gun in hand. The snow machine inched along, making every effort to be as soundless as possible.

We left when we saw the hunters.

Next day at school, one of my students said, "Somebody got a bear last night."

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