The Ferocious Bear - P.O.W. Report

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Ferocious Bear

The following is a post from the Tlingit and Haida peoples of Alaska Facebook page [check them out here]

by Dr. Woodrow Ḵaawan Sangáa, BA. JD.

In 1975 my family and I moved to Shageluk, Alaska... an Athabascan Village located in the Lower-Yukon, on the banks of the Innoko River. About 60 miles down river, the Innoko flowed into the Yukon River, across the Yukon from Holy Cross, Alaska (the meeting of Yupik and Athabascan territory.

Shageluk had a population of under 200 people. The local elementary school had only 2 teachers - a husband and wife. The husband, who was also the Principal Teacher was a man of many talents. He was very friendly and truly loved people. He had only, to my knowledge, only one obvious flaw.
He told me that when he and his wife were hired to teach at Shageluk, they were both very happy and anxious to get to Shageluk but, it was still just Late Spring. So, since they both loved the out of doors they decided to go Camping and Hiking in the Mount McKinley National Park, named for President McKinley.

Mt. McKinley is North America's highest mountain.

The original name for the Mountain came from the Native People, who called it Denali... hence, Denali National Park.

Our intrepid outdoors enthusiasts arrive all prepared to thoroughly immerse themselves in to the wilderness. On one of their sojourns - hikes, they happened upon a trapper's Cache.

A Cache is essentially a small store house built on piling... elevated about 10 feet or more above the ground to keep bears and other animals out. There was no ladder, but there was a cross-piece our hero thought, "I can jump up, grab that brace and swing my legs up...

He studied the brace, braced himself, leaped up and grabbed the brace. He then began his final maneuver, swinging his lets up.... "CRACK', it broke and he landed on his back, injuring himself. He and his wife returned, for him... painfully slowly, to their camp. He was stove up for a couple of days.
With a bit of exercise, he felt fit again. They went on a long hike then called it a night and climbed into their individual Mummy-Bag, Sleeping Bags.

The top end of the Bag is like have a Parka Hood with a drawstring. The back was zipped up and for the most part covered the sleeper's face, he slept well.

In the morning he awoke and something seemed amiss. He opened his eyes and saw, only inches from his face coarse, brown fur... "BROWN BEAR!" There are a lot of Brown Bear in the Park. He was trapped, no weapon... the only think he could do was play dead. So he lay motionless, afraid to breathe too loudly.

Finally, the tension was too much. He decided that, rather than lay there and accept his fate, he would GO DOWN FIGHTING! Once he had made the decision he felt better... he slowly filled his lungs, gripped the zipper tightly... In one lightening-quick movement he unzipped his Mummy-bag and emerged with his best BATTLE CRY...

That Ferocious Brown Bear turned out to be the tail of an inquisitive Squirrel.

He loved the Out-Of-Doors but things just seemed to awry but, it never dampened his ardour.
Thank you for your Friendship and this Story.

Good-night and don't let the Brown Bears Bite.

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