September 16, 2013 Monday
We were getting ready to leave Valdez this morning and a bear was right outside our camper, about 20 feet away. Michael was outside, unhooking the water, etc. when he noticed the bear coming up the bank from the beach. The bear saw Michael and went to stand by a nearby tree. Michael opened the camper door and told me a bear was right outside. We yelled at him to go away, raised our arms up to make ourselves look bigger, and nothing, he just stood there curiously staring at us. He was really kind of cute. This bear was not afraid of people. Michael started throwing rocks near the bear, not to hit him, but to scare him away. Didn't work the way we wanted. The bear climbed up in the tree and sat up there staring at us. Michael decided to finish his work outside and I kept my eye on the bear in case he started to come down. He stayed up in the tree a good long time, then came down, stopped, looked at us and this time when we shooed him off, he went back down the bank and out of site. We were ready to leave at this point, so we left, too. Our campground owners told us they have had to kill a couple of bears that kept coming into their campground. This is really a shame because if people feed bears or leave trash out for bears to get, then the bears become habituated to people and they will look at people as a food source. Soon they become a nuisance to people or worse, attack to "protect" their food source. Then they are killed. It could all be prevented. On this trip we have seen several educational signs about this "A fed bear is a dead bear". I hope this bear quits hanging around people, because it will not end well for him.
We headed out of Valdez on the
Richardson Highway, traveling
north and east on our way towards the Canadian border. The landscape was a patchwork of greens, golds, rusts and yellows. We had views of the Pipeline along the way. What a feat, it is 800 miles long!
We stopped at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve to tour their Visitors Center, Cultural Center and Exhibit Center. Very nice set-up. We saw their movie, "Crown of the Continent" which beautifully illustrated the park.
On our way again we soon got on the Tok Cutoff with more spectacular scenery, forests of fall color, meadows, mountains, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, a virtual mosaic display. The Mentasta Mountains rise 6,000 feet on both sides of the highway. We are the only car on the road for miles and miles. Just solitary loveliness
We arrived in Tok around 4pm and camped at Tok RV Park. We took a nice walk in the woods before dinner, then called it a night, our last night in Alaska.