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Bob and Joanne's Alaska adventure: a bear tale

During their motorhome trip to Alaska in 2006, one of Joanne Sommer's and Bob Potts' favorite stopping spots was along Portage Glacier Road. Specifically, they preferred a pull-out space alongside a glacier-fed pond at the foot of a large hanging glacier.

They stayed at this location on two occasions. On the second occasion, Dixie, their 7-year-old Australian shepherd, alerted them to an uninvited guest.

Joanne was taking a photo outside the coach at the shoreline of a lovely blue-green lake. She heard rustling but figured it was only a squirrel. She went inside to make dinner. Meanwhile, Bob had decided to clean off the bugs from the windshield, a nightly chore. Dixie stayed with him.

Suddenly, Dixie started whining and sniffing the air. She seemed agitated. Bob turned around to see what had sparked her interest. There, strolling toward him from the same spot Joanne had just vacated, was a black bear, about 12 feet away.

Bob had enough time to collect Dixie and get into the coach and grab the camera. His hands were shaking. The bear traipsed the length of the motorhome and started sniffing around their towed vehicle, a GMC Sierra. Then it casually walked away, onto the same hiking trail that Joanne and Bob had planned to walk that evening.

“Needless to say, we bagged the hike and decided it really was time to buy some bear spray (pepper spray), Joanne said.”

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