NOTE: If you got this link from the Anchorage Daily News I would like to add that Mr Medred, who wrote the article, must have gotten this link from a friend and decided to make a story out of it by pretty much copying my text with quotes to get an easy article. I was never contacted or made aware that he was going to do this or post this link in the paper. I just put some photo's on the web for some friends and family to see.

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Good Hike and Sketchy Bear Encounter

Well the forecast was for warm temp and sun for the weekend. Had some hiking plans for Sunday but on Saturday I went for a scouting mission up California Creek Trail to see if I could get to the summit of Penguin Ridge (girdwood side). I ended up finding the correct trail/route and made it to the summit around 4200 vertical feet above my starting point. The trail was almost completely overgrown at times but was still there. I was making a good amount of noise on the hike in and out for it is bear country and with all the tall vegetation It would be easy to walk right up to a bear without knowing it. after getting to the summit and back down out of the valley I finally made it all the way down to the old jeep trail which leads back to the main road when I encountered 2 Black Bears. These bears were acting very aggressive and I ended up having to fight one off in the woods for over an hour(with a big stick) till I slowly made my way in a big loop back down to the main road where the bear gave up the fight. Sprained my knee slightly during the ordeal so just rested today.
-Nissman

THE HIKE


I started my hike from my house at the base of the ski mountain. I then hiked up this valley up an old overgrown trail till it ended at this avalanche runout path.

Here is looking up the avalanche path that I followed up to the summit of the highest point on the girdwood side of penguin ridge. You can hardly make out the trail I was following through the vegetation. The route went strait up this slide path to the right side of the rocks near the top then up the ridge to the summit

It got pretty steep near the top of the slide path. Would have been a problem if the alpine tundra was wet and slippery but was fine when dry.

Saw some wildflowers along the way

More flower photo's

And another

Looking down at Girdwood and Alaska Ski area with the big Alyeska Hotel in the bottom left of the photo

Looking up Glacier Valley with Girdwood in the lower right part of the photo

Looking down the slide path from near the summit

A half frozen hidden lake below a portion of penguin ridge. Turnagain Arm is in the upper background.


I was staring down this mt goat eye to eye while slowly getting out my camera. Just as I went to take a picture he dropped under the snow cornice.


Self portrait on the summit

Looking down at the rest of penguin ridge. You can follow the ridge for 13 miles and 4500 feet of up and down then drop 4000 feet down penguin peak to bird valley. Its a good 2 day trip, not done too often.


I followed this soft scree gully down the upper part of the slide path. My ascent route is directly below. The overgrown California Creek trail ends in the big field at the bottom of the slide path


Finally made it down to the overgrown trail and headed back out California creek.

THE SKETCHY BEAR ENCOUNTER

Ah, I thought the hard part of the day was over when I made it to the old jeep trail only 1.5 miles of easy walking to the main road

Then I ran into these Guys who were a little too interested in me. I waited for a while and then started making a lot of noise and yelling at them but they didn't move at all

This was starting to get me concerned as these bears seemed to have no plan to move and were very interested in me. Usually when you see 2 or more bears it is a sow with cubs which can be very dangerous. Also they could be recently abanded 2-3 year old cubs which are learning things on there own and figuring out there position for dominance. Also a dangerous situation for they have less fear. The other thing is that we were near Girdwood and there have been many bears in town getting used to people and eating out of garbage and associating people with food.

When one of the bears slowly started walking in my direction and ignoring all my yelling at it I decided to slowly start backing off and heading back in the direction I came and leave the bears alone. Since they were blocking the way I needed to go to get out I decided to slowly walk back up the trail for a ways then go into the woods till I ran into a trail that parallels the one I was on then take that back to the road. Pretty much doing a big loop around where the bears were. I made it a good way up the trail and no sign of the bears so I figured I was in a good spot to start traversing through the woods to the other trail. I made maybe 150 yards into the thick woods when I heard the bear charging through the woods at me.

I jumped up on a trees root wad and made myself as big as I could and started yelling at the bear. It stopped just behind the next tree. It was popping its jaw (sign of aggression) and was kinda watching me from behind the tree. We were at a standstill for about 5 minutes doing this and I snapped these two photo's but didn't have that steady of a hand. after that my camera was in my pocket for the rest of the ordeal. After putting my camera back in my pocket I heard the other bear crashing around in the woods towards us about 100 yards away. It was huffing and watching. I thought maybe since we were at a standstill for a while now that I could slowly start making my way away from the bear but as soon as I left the tree and slowly started backing off the bear would charge at me till I jumped on a log and started yelling at it.














Here is the stick I was swinging at the bear. Also my bike was in the woods at the junction of the side trail and the jeep trail and I left it there as I was a little busy just trying to get out of there. when I went back today to pick up my bike the seat was chewed up by a bear. I have had many bear encounters here in Alaska and this was the first time one followed me and chased me around the woods. Usually they run off once they realize you are human or they go on minding there own business. I think these bears had gotten a taste of human garbage and associated people with food and were accustomed to people. It would have been a perfect time to test bear spray which I rarely carry and If I had a gun (as we carry at work) there would be one very dead bear.

The bear would just stop and make noises at me. I was breaking off branches throwing them at the bear but it didn't seem to bother him. This went on for a few more times while I backed off then got on a different log or stump yelling and throwing sticks while making my way slowly toward the main trail again. I finally realized the only way to stop the bear from coming toward me was to charge at it. At this time I had stopped throwing sticks at the bear and had a large branch in my hand. I would go after the bear swinging and it would back off then lean up against a tree and think about climbing it. Then I would swing the stick and wack the bear in the ass and it would climb up the tree. I would make more noise and wack at his feet and the tree till he went higher up the tree, then when the bear was high up in a tree I would head toward the trail. The bear would climb down the tree and chase full speed after me then I would do the same thing. I was slowly making ground toward the main trail. When I hit the main trail I continued doing this but the bear stopped climbing the trees and just would back off as I was swinging at it. then turn and come after me. I finally made it close to the road and the the bear didn't follow me anymore. I didn't see the second bear once I was out of the thick woods. Was not a fun experience and I got pretty cut up and sprained my knee while doing this through the thick woods.