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Alaska's Wildlife Experience

A short story by Tracy Bartley

By Tracy BartleyPublished 4 years ago โ€ข 3 min read
Does a bear really $#!% in the woods?

Resurrection Bay, in Seward, Alaska

Small town living in Alaska definitely has it's share of up-close personal encounters, to call them wild would be a gross understatement. Our tiny fishing community opens it's season beginning in May and ends in September. Tourists come from around the world to visit our area with extraordinary artistry, breathtaking views, world-class fishing, and an abundance of Alaskan wildlife. The great Alaskan experience that they visit our home to witness what by most people would be considered a once in a lifetime opportunity.

It takes a special kind of person to call our three mile town with no traffic light home, we are certainly a breed of our own. Never surprised at new outrageous situations, it becomes second nature to stay vigilant and aware of our surroundings at all times. You never know what might be lurking around the corner with the ability to take your life.

In the peak of King salmon season an abundance of fish brings with them the pungent smell that will most certainly curl your nose and make your face scrunch in disdain. These foul odors lour the black bears in to town and for the most part if we leave them alone, they extend the same courtesy.

Cruise ships, planes, trains and automobiles bring visitors by the hundreds daily and hotels are always booked during those months.

In 2010 while working at one of the nicer hotels in town, from a national chain. I had an elderly couple checking in to their previously reserved room. Check-in's become routine making it easy to hit auto-pilot in your brain and just go through the motions, though I would not recommend it, but it happens. I had heard the sliding of the front entryway doors, upon which I have always made a point to look up to see how many people are arriving. Engrossed in my interaction with these sweet people, this time I had not looked but I quickly noticed an unmistakable odor that was so strong it made my eyes water permeating the air with berries and garbage, but there is only one thing that smells...NO!!! I screamed in my head trying not to panic as I looked up to find the culprit.

Though the couple had their backs to the door. I am sure they knew from my expression that they should do exactly as I said when I put my finger to my mouth in a"shhhh..." I said "PLEASE do NOT look, but slowly move toward me... around my desk!" The old man, said loudly to his wife "WHAT DID SHE SAY, ESTHER? I THINK LEFT MY EARS ON THE SHIP!"

This loud yammering stopped the small black bear after he had already gained entry to my lobby with the doors already shut behind him. I swiftly rounded behind the couple and firmly grabbed each by the arm moving them behind my desk where I joined them.

I could only imagine how rude they thought my behavior, but I could tell by the size of their eyes in the amazement of such a sight as we watched our less than mannerly visitor calmly look around as he sauntered in to make a comfortable spot to relieve himself. He snorted at the accommodations as though he should demand a refund, and then wandered out the back lobby doors as quietly and calmly as he had entered. Needless to say, I comped their room and with my humor told them they could now answer(to all they would tell of the memory)the age old question:

Does a bear really $#!% in the woods?

with an honest...

"Nope, not always!"

wild animals

About the Creator

Tracy Bartley

My true life tales are filled with 50 years of Alaska living w/all

of the fun excitement, adventure and highlights that come with the package.

Special thanks to Alaskan photographer Pam Roseveare

who has a eye for capturing our great State.

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