Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Attempt #1 To Hike Campbell Creek Gorge: Unsuccessful

I rallied my troop (Mom) around 6:00pm again tonight to embark on yet another exciting adventure. I found what I thought would be a relatively easy jaunt to Campbell Creek Gorge . Notice the "friendly=Yes" part on the end of the web address,...yeah well. We got to the trail head, I threw on the backpack loaded with the usuals: bananas, water, bear spray and camera. This time we took off into the woods rather than up the mountain. Plants grow bigger in Alaska, it felt like we were entering the jungle. The directions I had, warned me of the semi-unmarked trails but gave pretty good ideas of where we needed turn when there was a split. So we got to the first fork in the trail and found this sign:

Undeterred, I convinced us that the bears obviously stay to the right fork while the people appear to stay to the left. This is the point at which we dug the bear spray out of the back pack, I secured mine around my waist while Mom clutched hers in her hand: we had some kind of odd Alaskan rendition of Charlie's Angels going on. We then proceeded to leap into the air several times as passing bicyclists continually startled us. We pressed on through some very beautiful scenery. I'm in awe of how diverse Anchorage is, one minute you are speeding down a major freeway and the next you are buried chin deep in the wilderness.

As you can see Campbell Creek is breathtaking so you can appreciate my eagerness to view it from the 'gorge'. Well, what happened next was a series of events that (very ironically) went something like this:

Strolling along the trail, continuing to moving aside for the occasional mountain biker we loudly shared our deep thoughts to try and 'make noise'.

Me: Ha ha (nervously, still trying not the think about the extreme bear activity sign) I, I wonder if bear spray works on moose too.

Mom: I don't know, I don't see why it wouldn't. How do you even hunt a moose? I guess Uncle Billy and Grampa did but, hum (pondering) I mean do they sit in tree stands?

Me: I, I don't know I've never hunted moose, maybe I'll get into that sometime...(it's then that I think I feel another earthquake or maybe its horses galloping toward us??????)

Suddenly rounding the same corner as we were, but at full bore and in the opposite, head-on direction is Mama Moose with Jr. in tow! All four of us come to a screeching halt!

Me and Mom in unison: "Whoa!!!"

Clumsily stumbling over each other in a mad rush, we make a break for it off the trail and out of the line of fire, finding temporary shelter behind the nearest tree which Mom wastes no time pointing out to me in an accusatory hiss, "This tree isn't even alive!" "Then find your own tree!" I hiss back. The moose stays on the trail while I'm searching for the next closest live tree to hide behind. She listened in our direction for what seemed like an eternity, our lives hung in the balance while she decided if it was worth her time to trample us or not. She must have figured out we weren't much of a threat (or maybe she sensed we had bear spray???) because she continued on, digging in, she bolted down the trail with Jr. right on her heels. Mom and I, bug-eyed, gawked on from behind our dead tree refuge in the bushes and at that point I tried to snap a pic. This is what I got.

We stared at each other for a moment trying to figure out if that just really happened and maybe to verify we'd survived. Stunned we stepped back out onto the runway and kept moving toward the gorge. A few seconds later the sound of a gun shot ruptured the silence. At the same time we both thought it, wide eyed and in unison we declared: "Bear!"

Maybe it was our imaginations getting the best of us or genetics making our brains think up the same scenario but in that instant we knew, just knew it in our guts that, that Mama moose was running from a grizzly and some poor shocked hiker, much like ourselves was shooting to ward it off! Suddenly, the view from Campbell Creek Gorge was unenticing. An immediate 180 put us back in the parking lot pronto. Not before we snapped this pic of Mama's skid marks (seriously guys, she was moving). To see the view from the gorge, you'll just have to wait until I get brave enough to attempt that hike again later. Oh, yeah and P.S. Happy Canada Day, Eh!!!

Okay, I'm fairly certain God isn't referring to a moose in this verse, but I feel confident that my multiple first hand encounters with these behemoth like creatures, since my arrival to the Last Frontier, more than qualifies me to make this comparison;)

"Look at the land beast, Behemoth. I created him as well as you. Grazing on grass, docile as a cow-Just look at the strength of his back, the powerful muscles of his belly. His tail sways like a cedar in the wind; his huge legs are like beech trees. His skeleton is made of steel, every bone in his body hard as steel. Most magnificent of all creatures but I still lead him around like a lamb! The grass-covered hills serve him meals, while field mice frolic in his shadow. He takes afternoon naps under shade trees, cools himself in the reedy swamps, lazily cool in the leafy shadows as the breeze moves through the hills. And when the river rages he doesn't budge, stolid and unperturbed even when the Jordan goes wild. But you'd never want him for a pet-you'd never be able to housebreak him!" Job 40:15-24

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Great story! Glad you lived to blog about it!