Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska
Thursday, July 12, 1973
I wasn’t feeling well yesterday, so today you get two posts to make up for it.
And we head back to my aunt’s before beginning the long trek home.
But not before having a close encounter with an Alaskan brown bear:
My father and I were awakened in the wee hours of the previous night by something thrashing around outside. My diary says the bear was raiding the garbage can. I remember it as having something to do with that piece of leftover roll, but upon further consideration he couldn’t have possibly been making that much noise with just a piece of roll.
Anyway, Daddy and I peered out the windows of the trailer, and saw, in the long twilight of Alaska at that time of year, an enormous brown bear. I did not know at the time that brown bears are the same species as grizzlies, but apparently they are. All I remember is that he was absolutely enormous, and that when my father tried to wake my mother up to see him, she just rolled over and ignored him. Then the next morning we had to convince her we’d actually seen it.
That was as close as we got to any large animal on the trip. Less than 10 feet away, which was more than close enough, thanks. He could have opened the trailer like a can opener with those claws.
After that, the drive back to Anchorage, including another stop at a Dairy Queen (why DQ every time we ate out on this trip is something of a mystery to me now), was something of an anticlimax.
Teenage me was rather glad to watch some TV at my aunt’s, though.