Saturday, May 9, 2009

That Bear Thing !






When told that I plan to do some tent camping during my trip to Alaska, a number of friends have expressed concern about the risk from wildlife, especially bears.

Let me say this about the subject of bears.

I've traveled and camped before, many times, in areas where these supposed "bears" are a threat to tasty, slow moving dinners such as myself. Yellowstone Park - never saw a bear. Yosemite Park - no bears. Northern Canada - lots of Moose, Wolves, Elk. Nary a bear. I once even camped in a park in Washington called the Great Bear Wilderness. Do you think I caught a glimpse of even one bear? Uh, no. In my , ahem, "many" years of life on this planet I have NEVER seen a bear in the wild.

Scientific study, careful consideration, and my own personal experience have brought me to a seemingly obvious conclusion. Bears are not real. Bears are imaginary.

But wait, you say, there are "bears" in the movies, in literature, and on television. Sure. Who doesn't love Yogi Bear, and Winnie the Pooh is a childrens' icon. Care Bears, Fozzie Bear, Paddington Bear...all constructs from the brilliant minds of A.A. Milne, Hanna-Barbera and others.

And what of the bears that we (myself included) have seen in Zoos? Those "bears" are easily explained. Ever been to Disney World? Can you say animatronic? (Though holograms may also be in play. Advanced technology is simply magnificent!)

The concept of bears dates to time immemorial. The ancients identified the patterns in the heavens with bears...recall the constellations Ursa Major and Minor. Yet, these same people are the ones who conceptualized another popular imaginary animal, the unicorn. Both are constructs of unreal animals having important meaning to humans throughout recorded history. Both exist solely in our minds but, nonetheless, provoke strong emotions. Hence my friends' concern for my safety while camping.

Let me say this again, I am not concerned about bears while camping because bears are imaginary!

Despite this compelling evidence suggesting that there are no bears, I intend to be prudent with my behavior in the wilds of the North Woods. I'll conform with the conventional wisdoms....no food in the tent, no picnics in isolated areas, make a lot of noise while hiking, etc. As an open minded person I also remain flexible to changing my opinion when faced with new facts. I'll keep my eyes wide open and the camera at hand throughout, but the truth is that I don't anticipate seeing any bears. But, I'll certainly be on the lookout for one. Of course I'll be looking for unicorns too!

Thanks for following. Jack

More news coming early next week regarding the 2009 Ride to Alaska for the Austin Hatcher Foundation (www.hatcherfoundation.org)

1 comment:

  1. You know what they call bikers in Alaska? Meals on Wheels :)

    I went to Alaska about 15 years ago (sadly in a truck/camper vs. bike), and we saw several bears, and a few years back, my little brother was camping up there and had one steal his fishing pole from the tent (that was after my bro kicked the bear because it bumped him). But you should be fine....Just pack a big can of pepper spray!

    Have a blast on your trip, I'm beyond jealous. And as a cancer survivor, I applaud your efforts - good on ya! I look forward to following your trek.

    ~T.S.

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