Friday, September 13, 2013

Monday Morning Quarterbacks...

 seems like there will always be those people out there who believe i should have handled things differently or who state outright exactly what they would have done in this very same situation.  i have always been annoyed by these people anyway.  those who judge others without any idea what it is like to be in their situation.
 i am alive and that bear didn't get through that window.  that was all i was thinking at the time.  i was only thinking, keep bear from getting inside the car.  you don't think about the next thing.  not until the next thing happens.  there is no time for that.
 i was in a 1:1 at work the other night.  at first i was a bit annoyed as i thought it would be nicer to be with people.  in the end, i did get out to a few people i knew and told my tale to them and they were fine, but telling the tale in general isn't always  good.  i mean due to the monday morning quarterback types and the toppers...there are always the toppers.  can't stand those people...they always have a better or more interesting story, at least in their mind they do.  so annoying.  the best response this week for me was, "that must have been so scary".
 some felt that i should have sprayed my bear spray through the inch window opening....really?  that seems a pretty daft idea to me.  most of the bear spray would have been in the car rendering me half blind and unable to breathe.  not a good plan if you ask me...or then there were those who would have just shot the bear.  was i supposed to roll down the window to accomplish this?  or just shoot through the glass?  a gun may have been helpful if the bear had gotten in the car...if i could locate it quick enough and get it aimed in the right direction.  if you don't get a good kill shot off though you may just piss the bear off more.
 oh well...for the most part telling the story has been a good therapy for me.  there are always annoying and ridiculous people out there, right?
 was watching a ted talk about stress last night.  stress is good for you...sometimes.  personally, i think long term stress is totally unhealthy for you.  if you don't have ways to bring yourself down from stress you will create health issues.  the talk was about the good stress, even though she didn't distinguish the two.
 my body was stressed this week.  it was a temporary stress though.  in the talk she said stress releases oxytocin.  that this drives us to seek out others assistance and actually makes the heart function more effectively i think.  it's a short term effect though, imho.  this stress that i had sunday is a reminder to trust myself, that i am capable of handling life's challenges.  i stayed calm, i made reasonable decisions.  these are all good things.  it also works as a reminder that we don't have to face these things alone...well, initially i was alone, but in dealing with the stress of a pretty significant bear encounter i have people and i was reminded to call on them.
 got my massage the other day.  thank you jullian!!  she's great.  it can be a bit painful but she got me to totally relax finally. she said it took a long time for me to finally relax during the massage.  i felt like a noodle after my hour and a half.  i still wonder if i should be allowed to drive under the influence of a massage...?
 just did a few loops at the university lake dog park after that with the dogs. i left them at home.  didn't want to leave them in the car that long.  still not sure if it may stress them out.  blossom does seem to be getting more and more back to herself.  less spooking. she is a bit more protective i think and she is staying closer.
 lena joined me for a loop in north bivouac trails.  there was a suicidal person out there with a gun apparently so the whole road was closed for a bit with warnings to not go out there for walks and such.
 we saw two sets of moose with calves.  the second set was a few feet off the trail and manny was getting pretty hyped up so we turned around and took a different route back.  still nice to see all those moose around as it says to me less chance of bears.
 i would have been headed to kaktovik today in my original plans.  so i must say i'm a bit sad.  will put that trip on the list for sooner than later for sure.  sounds great.  will probably be better to hang with polar bears another time when i haven't just had such a fright with a grizzly bear.
 watched another interesting talk on ted by george monbiot?  anyway.  he was talking about rewilding or the restoration of the megafauna to area's.  the wolves that were reintroduced in yellowstone park have had an impact even though they weren't introduced in large numbers.  things you don't realize.  the deer begin to have to plan their activities and begin to avoid certain area's.  this created a situation where the area's plants grew and stablized the land and other habitats. increased birds, increased beavers, then the beavers increased the dams, which created more habitats.  even meandering streams and rivers were made more stable by these changes as their banks didn't erode as rapidly.
 it is always amazing how interconnected all of life is.  as humans we muck about with it all too much.  thinking we have all the answers and can fix things.  if you leave nature to it's way, nature will eventually make it right.
 the whale numbers being down meant that ocean carbon and atmospheric carbon increased.  whales have huge fecal plumes...(big poops). the plankton feed on this and bloom.  ocean plankton absorb carbon, increase vegetation causes decreased carbon.  i don't recall all the details, but it's easy to not realize how vital these larger animals are. one sweep of a whale take or a leap into the air disrupts all sorts of things causing a cascade of events that benefits all life.
 denali, mt mckinley, is apparently 83 feet shorter than previously thought.  new radar mapping. it's still over 600 feet taller than the next closest to tallest in canada.  don't see mount logan catching up anytime soon.
 will do a stay-cation.  was thinking about driving somewhere, but i think i need a few before i hit the road again.  maybe a lovely bear electric fence or a new airhorn for the car. am hoping the pool at the local alaska club is back up and running and then i can re-commit myself to swimming this fall.  it's time.  summer is slacker time, but it's time to get back in the water.  i think it will feel great!!
 still loads of mushrooms out there to take photo's of.  lots of moose as well.  the fall colours will hit anchorage soon.  they are building up already.  got my fix of tundra fall last weekend.  so amazing out there.  supposed to be a good night for aurora's as well.  need to figure out where i put my tripod....i may need it one of these days so i can learn how to capture aurora's.  i have to get out there when they are out.  not always easy...once you are cozy at home it's hard to dress up for the cold.
 the colours out there were really spectacular and i do want to get out there again in the future.  i was thinking of things i may need to make myself feel more safe, like the portable electric bear fence.  cold encircle the car before i crash in there or my tent.  don't think they are cheap but i do hear they work good and peace of mind is a good thing.
 an airhorn would be another nice addition to my car. that bear wasn't backing down to the noise i was making, maybe a different noise would help.  not feeling life rushing out and getting a gun.  that is bigger committment.  that would require extended training as well as just acquiring a firearm.

 on the 1:1 at work i really had little to do but watch tv.  it was the night of sept 11th.  so there were several shows on the history channel to watch.
 does remind you to keep things in perspective.  i really didn't see too much about what was going on those first weeks. i was in the process of moving from ketchikan to anchorage when this all happened. i was in skagway with my friend carla and my critters. we'd gotten off the ferry the night before and were packing up the car for the trek to whitehorse in the yukon territory.  as we were loading the truck someone on the street said the world trade center had been bombed.  it had to have been around 8 am here so that meant it was probably closer to noon in new york.  clearly still a lot of misinformation out there.  maybe it was earlier here, not sure.  i'm not one to wake up too early, but maybe i did.
 we turned on the tv in the hotel room to get news and debated what to do.  should we continue on into the yukon territory or stay where we were.  i think the hotel was hoping to boot us as the ferry was turning around as juneau was next stop and juneau was getting backed up fast what with planes being grounded.
 we finished packing the car and took our chances on the canadian border crossing.
 when we got to the border we were told that another hijacked plane was possibly headed to whitehorse and we may be turned back but they let us through.
 we traveled in silence through scenery like this...spectacular.  we had no phone coverage and were mostly even out of 9-1-1 zone.  there was no radio.  it was surreal.  we were totally cut off from the rest of the world in this fall paradise and we worried that nuclear war was breaking out and we were clueless.  we had no idea what was going on until we reached whitehorse.  thankfully, i'd made hotel arrangements in advance for us and the pets.
 the town was pretty quiet as they'd sent everyone home early due to the possibly hijacked plane.
 it was a korean air jet and with all the madness of the day the messages had gotten confused and they were just running low on fuel i think.  they were escorted in as they landed by two usa fighter jets, f15's i believe.  the pilot was taken off at gunpoint i later learned.  there had been orders that they could shoot this plane down if they became concerned.  it was a passenger jet.  many of those people ended up at the same hotel as carla and i.  we walked in to the hotel with our gear and animals and it was packed with korean's.  all trying to get through to loved ones to let them know that they were in the yukon.  we must have been quite the site.
 some sort of hawk i saw on my way to glennallen.  not very good photo's.
 we were finally able to get news of what was going on and catch up a bit while we ate dinner.  the waitress was confused and thought this was all happening on the west washington state, not dc.
 the next day we were back on the road, back to no radio contact, no 9-1-1.  it would be until we stopped in tok at our next hotel, a b&b that we got news again.  after that i settled into my new apartment but i would have no television for weeks and only had npr to listen to.
 one of the swan shots i took right after my bear encounter. most were totally blurry and throw a ways.
 so it's interesting for me to watch these programs as i was just so removed from all that was happening. it looks horrible what the people on the east coast, especially those in new york, endured that day and in the days that followed.  my heart goes out to them and to all those lost.  so many first responders. just so sad.
 it's been 12 years.  that doesn't seem possible.  wars later and many more deaths later as well.  still here we are.
 one of the shows i watched was about the security guy in charge of a big company that worked in one of the towers. he'd predicted this exact scenario after the bombings in the 90's on the towers.  he put his workers through loads of drills all the time.  i'm sure some of them thought him mad.  on that day people knew what to do.  sadly, they were told to return to their offices by the world trade center people.  once the second plane hit though it was time to just follow their evacuation plans no matter what.  he went up and down the stairs to get everyone out.  all but like 6 of nearly 3000 on that staff survived.  he did not though. the building came down with him still in there, helping others.
 another show i watched focused on a small group of survivors from the second tower that fell, mostly firefighters.  how they survived the collapse of all of that is unbelievable.   they could hear the floors hitting one after another and knew that they hadn't made it, that they would die and then they were still there, in that stairwell.  getting to them was another huge undertaking. that was a huge pile of rubble.  how they ever found them in all that is a miracle.
 none of it ever makes sense.  so many lost and some saved.  those saved though give hope to all.
 always a reminder to keep things in perspective.
 just was addicted to all these amazing colour pallets out there.
 the fog was pretty cool as well.
 i didn't get any photo's of the bear...but i noticed on the way home from work the other morning a clear but fading paw print on my passenger side window.  haven't been able to get a photo of that.
 these are also a bit faded but these are on the hood of the car.  i never saw the bear on the hood so he must have been on my hood as i was sleeping in the back.  looking in at me.  creepy...
 the top print, closer to the window is the best shot.  you can see two prints below...i can anyway. they are a bit smeared, he must have slid his paws against the hood as he moved around the car.
 i knew he must have been out there for a bit trying to decide how to get in.  the open window was his best chance. bears aren't stupid.
oddly, i'm not ready to wash these fading prints off my car. they are the reminder of what happened....they make it more real i guess.  better feed the dogs and think about hitting the water.

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