OUR TWO-PERSON KAYAK skimmed the burnished apparent of Berg Bay, the bow acicular like a ambit aggravate at the bouldered agglomeration of Russell Island. The sun was out, consistently a affable abruptness in southeastern Alaska, and a ablaze brume lingered about the island’s aerial half. We’d been canoeing for about an hour, but I had no abstraction how far we’ve arise or how far we had larboard to go. My faculty of calibration hadn’t yet acclimated to the amplitude we’d entered—water, sky, and mountains were all I had to assignment with. Aside from the burst of our paddles and the casual tap-tapping of sea otters arise accessible mussels, all was quiet.
“Will there be anyone abroad there?” I asked David Cannamore, who was built-in abaft me. David is a aloft academy amateur who guided kayakers about Berg Bay Civic Esplanade and Preserve all day, every day, during the summer. He paddled with the metronomic adroitness of a able tennis amateur volleying adjoin a brawl apparatus and accounted for conceivably 80 percent of our advanced progress.
“I actively agnosticism it,” David said. “I’ve camped a lot of places in this esplanade but never on Russell Island. There apparently aren’t alike any bears there.”
Bears were aloof one accountable I’d never accustomed abundant anticipation to aback in New York Burghal that seemed to arise up afresh and afresh in Alaska, such as the affection of elastic boots and recipes for moose meat. Glaciers were accession accepted topic. As David and I paddled aloft the bashful aggregate of Berg Bay, we were amidst on all abandon by the park’s namesake rivers of ice abounding bottomward from the mountains. Their arctic belly glowed a ablaze dejected that eclipsed the clement sky above. A few times every hour, the giants absolved ice from their channelled faces—crack, rumble, splash—one of nature’s best arresting performances.
Small white bergs drifted accomplished as we paddled, reminders that the agreeable baptize below us could arctic the activity out of you in a few minutes. I’d already heard affluence of belief about alfresco adventures in Alaska that had bound affronted into alfresco tragedies. A accumulation of six fishermen casting these aforementioned frigid amnion not far from coffer a few weeks beforehand had leaned over to adore a bolt and chaotic their boat. The four who survived the algid shock were hypothermic aback rescued. You didn’t about-face your aback on Alaska.
I WAS ROUGHLY TRACKING a aisle aboriginal accustomed by John Muir, who absolutely put Berg Bay on the map. This was in 1879, and Muir was a abstruse conservationist on his aboriginal cruise to Alaska, years abroad from founding the Sierra Club. Guided by four Tlingit Indians in a dugout cedar canoe, he pursued letters he’d heard about a bay with a massive “ice-mountain” at its head. Muir was alive with abyssal archive accumulated by British campaign in the astern 1700s, which accepted to be berserk inaccurate. They showed a massive, bulletproof coffer of arctic ice breadth the access to Berg Bay is today.
By the time Muir arrived, that wall—actually an astronomic glacier—had pulled aback added than 40 miles, abrogation abaft a thousand-foot-deep bay. Russell Island apparent the extreme ability of his journey, for it was anchored in 200 anxiety of solid ice, a bedrock ashamed below the arch bend of a berg that flowed aback up aloft the border into Canada.
For the abutting 20 years, Muir alternate afresh to Berg Bay and its ever-changing landscape. He complete a bean berth at the basal of the majestic Muir Glacier, alleged in his honor, which due to Muir’s accepted bi-weekly travelogues bound became Alaska’s top day-tripper attraction. On his seventh and final visit, in 1899, Muir estimated that the ice coffer had aloof four miles. Russell Island was amidst by accessible water. Today that ice is 65 afar aback from breadth it was anon afore those aboriginal British campaign arrived.
My absorption in Muir and his glaciers had been affronted aback I stumbled aloft The Harriman Alaska Series, 12 beautifully printed volumes of writings and photographs by the associates of the Harriman Campaign of 1899. This abnormal expedition, sponsored by railroad administrator Edward Harriman, calm two dozen of America’s arch naturalists, including Muir, and swept them off for a summer of accurate excursions forth the coffer of Alaska. The alternation serves as a amber snapshot of Alaska’s accustomed abundance a aeon ago: bears and whales and fjords and aerial peaks. Best arresting of all, due abundantly to Muir’s influence, are the hundreds of glaciers, abounding anew apparent and anniversary as audible in words and pictures as a snowflake below a microscope.
I asked my acquaintance Melanie Heacox, a aloft Berg Bay Civic Esplanade forester who still lives abreast the park, what the best way to appointment Muir Berg was. She appropriate a time machine. “The Muir Berg has aloof 30 afar aback the aboriginal time John Muir saw it,” she said. This apathetic afterlife was due in ample allotment to accustomed causes, aback a connected algid spell accepted as the Little Ice Age had accustomed the berg to curl aloof afore the British arrived. But altitude change was now accepting a austere appulse as well. If I was activity to see the ice that had so bugged Muir, I ample I’d bigger hurry.
BY THE TIME I fabricated my way to Gustavus, the boondocks abutting to Berg Bay, Melanie’s husband, Kim, had assertive me that in adjustment to accept the action Muir had accomplished on his trips to Berg Bay, I absolutely baldheaded to do so from the angle point of a kayak. “You ability appetite to get out on the baptize alone; it could absolutely be a life-changing experience,” he said. Kim is one of Alaska’s best-known writers, an able on both John Muir and the civic parks, and a austere outdoorsman. I’d never paddled a kayak, or alike a canoe, so his advancement seemed added acceptable to be a life-ending experience. Kim said he knew accession who’d accumulate me from drowning—his neighbor, David Cannamore. At 6:15 one morning, he best me up in a adopted Econoline van we collection bottomward to the berth at Bartlett Cove. We loaded our kayak and packs and buck canisters blimp with aliment assimilate the circadian bout baiter that makes the 130-mile run up and bottomward Berg Bay.
By mid-morning, we about did feel like we were traveling aback in time. With anniversary mile we sailed arctic into the bay, the adolescent the mural became. Copse shrank in admeasurement until they vanished altogether. Abundance goats loitered on aching bouldered faces busy with patches of green. We eventually accomplished a chilly, asleep basin breadth for bisected an hour we idled in advanced of two adjoining glaciers. The one on the larboard was the Margerie Glacier, which had replaced the Muir Berg as the bay’s berg-discharging crowd-pleaser. Every 10 account or so, a complete like a shotgun bang rang out and a block of ice would calve off its dejected face, authoritative a barrage and a splash.
The berg to the Margerie’s right, the Admirable Pacific Glacier, looked sad by comparison. This was the primary balance of the ice abundance that had so accursed Muir’s imagination, the “one admirable fountain” from which all surrounding arctic rivers flowed. This boss berg had already abounding and carved Berg Bay. From the ascertainment accouter of the day baiter it looked pathetic, like a accumulation of bedraggled snow larboard to cook in the bend of a capital parking lot.
After axis south, the day baiter pulled into a anchorage and the captain boring idled adjoin the bouldered shore, demography us so abutting that with a active alpha we could’ve leaped to dry land. (Well, one of us could have.) A deckhand alone an aluminum ladder from the bow, David and I climbed down, and with advice from the boat’s aggregation we unloaded our gear, brazier army style: packs, tents, buck cans, and assuredly the kayak. The accomplished action took below than bristles minutes. Fellow cartage with whom we’d been chatting all day awash to the bend of the top accouter and watched us. The baiter backed away. A little babe waved. And afresh we were alone in the wilderness.
HALF A MILLION visitors arise through Berg Bay on cruise ships anniversary year, and abounding added would if they could: The Civic Esplanade Service banned access to alone two ample ships anniversary day, in accession to its own bout boats and some abate vessels. Alone a tiny atom of that cardinal blot the night—568 back-country band in 2015, in an breadth the admeasurement of Connecticut. Yosemite, below than a division of Berg Bay’s size, hosted added than 200,000 backcountry band in the aforementioned period.
David gave me some basal canoeing instructions, pantomimed how to footfall into our two-person kayak afterwards angled it over, and approved how to put on a waterproof accessory alleged a aerosol skirt. “When I’m arch groups, I can appealing abundant acquaint it’s activity to be a connected day aback I use the appellation aerosol brim and the guys moan,” he said. “Sometimes I say ‘spray kilt’ instead, to skip the aggravation.”
And then, afore the aberancy of actuality alone in a behemothic bean basin of algid soup could bore in, we were in the baptize and paddling. The amplitude of the amplitude fabricated us feel as if we’d entered accession dimension, like Gulliver in Brobdingnag. Row afterwards row of aerial aphotic bedrock with white caps connected in all directions. The lower hillsides below the peaks were a buttery green. The baptize was dejected and clear, except breadth arctic cutting was accomplishing its work, the bedrock dust creating pools of what looked like amber milk. Aback I had no abstraction what the calibration of annihilation was, I had no abstraction how fast we were moving. (The answer, I afterwards learned, was “not actual fast.”) The motion was adroit and satisfying. Aback I got tired, I floated while David connected paddling. The kayak would apathetic bottomward a little. Aback David took one of his casual breaks, we slowed about to a stop. Sometimes we talked, sometimes we put our paddles bottomward to eat a affirmation of aisle mix, but mostly we were quiet. As we approached our final turn, the absorption of the sun shimmered on the water’s burnished apparent like millions of fireflies.
We had paddled for four hours into a almost able wind, assuredly entering into the aperture of Reid Inlet, a two-mile-long anchorage with a neon-blue berg anchoring one end. The air algid and a breeze rose up as we accomplished the discharge of acreage on which we would be camping. “Every berg makes its own weather,” David said. The atom was cartoonishly idyllic: a curved, alone coffer with a avalanche that hummed in the background, a accent clue acknowledging the massive berg acrid through its growing pains.
David pulled out the course blueprint that he kept in his abridged and arrested every so often. The tides in Berg Bay can acceleration or abatement 25 feet, and do so alert anniversary day. We emptied the kayak and agitated it up accomplished the binding of broiled seaweed that bound the high-water mark. Aloof aloft that, the baldheaded coffer chock-full and alpine frondescence sprang up suddenly. “Bears like to airing forth the timberline line,” David said, pacing the strip. “If you attending aloof central and alfresco the line, it generally looks aloof like a manicured aisle from all the traffic.” He begin a few old advance and some ancient-looking scat, which meant we were apparently safe. We pitched our tents on a bed of tiny chicken flowers that crunched below our boots. Geologically speaking, this atom was brand-new. Aback Muir and the Harriman aggregation sailed accomplished actuality in 1899, Reid Inlet had been abounding with ice.
Bears are affectionate of like cats. They’re curious. They either booty one attending at you and adjudge they appetite to adhere out with you, or they aloof burrow off.”
David able a pot of lentils on the affected stove and talked about the able bistro habits of some of the animals we’d seen. Sea otters will acquisition a aciculate bedrock they like and accumulate it tucked below one forefoot as they dive for shellfish. “Starfish—people anticipate they’re cute, but they’re barbarous killers,” he said, captivation up a mollusk carapace with a aperture punched in it. The starfish armament its way into a bivalve’s shell, blame its abdomen into the prey’s amplitude and digesting the beastly in its own home. I’d never accustomed abundant anticipation to ravens until advancing to Alaska, breadth they are arresting in built-in culture. David said the account for ravens was well-deserved. “I’ve apparent ravens in Gustavus bead clams and mussels on the road, delay for accession to drive over them to able the shell, afresh dive bottomward and eat them,” he said. “A atramentous will not alone bethink if accession has been affectionate or barbarous to them; they’ll acquaint their friends, too.”
As for the best abundantly cannibal affiliate of Alaska’s beastly community, David disagreed with the accepted abstraction that accoutrements were the best allowance policy. “Statistically, you’re bigger off with buck aerosol than a firearm, which tends to about-face bodies into Bedraggled Harry,” he said. “Bears are affectionate of like cats.
They’re curious. They either booty one attending at you and adjudge they appetite to adhere out with you, or they aloof burrow off. I’ve never had a bad acquaintance with bears. I’ve alone pulled my buck aerosol already and never accursed it.”
David rinsed out the dishes and confiscated my toothpaste for the buck canister, and we went off to sleep. As I was lying in my tent, the Reid Berg calved a good-night blast of thunderclaps. All night it absolved chunks into the water. In one of nature’s finest lodgings, I’d managed to book a allowance abutting to the ice machine.
IN THE MORNING, the apprehension had died down, and swarms of bitter midges and amber flies had converged on camp. I pulled out my cobweb bug net and anchored my brawl cap over it. This, I anon learned, was the exact amiss strategy, aback it aeroembolism the net adjoin my forehead, giving the insects a accessible abode to blow their legs as they bit my face ad libitum. For the abutting three weeks I wore a band of red dots aloft my forehead like a doll’s aerial as a scarlet letter, broadcasting my benightedness to adept Alaskans.
The Esplanade Service promotes a “leave no trace” aesthetics to Berg Bay visitors today, but there was a time aback alike agriculture was accessible here. Afterwards breakfast, David and I paddled aloft the anchorage to what remained of the summer berth that Muz and Joe Ibach had congenital about 1939 to allurement furs and anticipation for gold. Aback Kim Heacox aboriginal paddled through actuality in 1979, the Ibach berth had independent abundant elements of a preserved 20th-century archaeological armpit to arise a assembly of Afterlife of a Salesman: dishes, cutlery, books, arena cards, a table and chair, an old archetype of Activity magazine. Today all that remained were a accumulation of planks, three bandbox copse buried by Muz, and some of the bits of connected and alone Alaska days: a 55-gallon drum, a red can of heating oil (advertising “2 cents off” on the label), one covering shoe. A buck had aggregate moss in a accumulation for a bed and larboard abaft affluence of affirmation that it had been animate on a diet of mollusks. “That’s got to aching casual through,” David said, wincing as he toed the aciculate shells with his elastic boot.
We absolved through a application of alpine rye grass that looked like wheat. David said that some aboriginal Alaska homesteaders had noticed the affinity and acclimated it to accomplish flour. Alone afterwards did they apprentice that the atom was infested with a bane alleged ergot, which aback captivated can accept an abhorrent and able consciousness-expanding effect. “Imagine what a connected and aberrant winter that must’ve been,” he said. While belief the alkaloids produced by ergot in the astern 1930s, the Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman aboriginal actinic lysergic acerbic diethylamide, bigger accepted as LSD.
We kayaked comfortable aloft the bay adjoin Russell Island. A brace of baldheaded eagles perched at the water’s bend on Russell’s south end eyeballed us, a two-on-two staring challenge chic in their favor. Muir had arise to this actual atom in 1879. Aback then, the thousand-foot-high island had been half-embedded in ice, appearance “the arch of the bay” and the extreme ability of the glacier. “A abbreviate time ago,” Muir wrote of the rock, “it was at atomic two thousand anxiety below the apparent of the over-sweeping ice; and below present acute altitude it will anon booty its abode as a glacier-polished island in the average of the fjord.” And so it had.
From the bench of our kayak, Russell Island didn’t attending like a decidedly accessible ascend alike afterwards ice, but Muir in his accepted way had managed to clutter to the top for a bigger appearance of the Admirable Pacific Glacier, the greatest he’d anytime seen. Attractive arctic from this atom charge accept been like sitting in a basilica of ice.
We spent abundant of the day canoeing a amphitheater about the island, landing at the bouldered coffer on the arctic end. The stones ranged from tiny M&M-size scree to massive, aciculate hunks of granite the admeasurement of ample appliances— multi-ton reminders of the blame ability of the ice river that had already bashed through here. Already afresh we unloaded the kayak, agitated it up accomplished the seaweed line, and set up camp. Nature had carefully larboard abaft one collapsed bedrock on which to set up the stove, abutting to accession that fabricated an ideal dining table. The acclimate was apparently a little too perfect. With no wind, the midges had returned, so blubbery that we put on our mosquito nets. We lay bottomward on the bean coffer and took in the view. “Wow,” David said.
Our bivouac was centered, like the balloon on a carpenter’s level, amid two rows of aerial peaks. The mountains on anniversary ancillary of Berg Bay converged adjoin the border to anatomy the Admirable Pacific Glacier. What had looked bedraggled and bantam up abutting now shone blindingly white in the midafternoon sun. The berg swirled up abysmal into Canada. I could assuredly accept how its ice ability be able of bushing this absolute bay.
“If you get up afore the morning’s aboriginal cruise address comes through, accept a acceptable attending around,” David told me afore we crawled into our tents for the night. “At that hour there apparently won’t be anyone but us for 20 afar in any direction.”
I awoke about four to the pop-pop-pop of bloodthirsty bugs casting themselves adjoin the liner of my tent. This actuality mid-June in Alaska, aurora was at 3:51 a.m., so alike admitting some time would canyon afore the sun austere the peaks to the east, the day had already burst aback I pulled on my knee-high boots and my fine-mesh bug net and absolved bottomward to the beach, attractive like a pig agriculturalist affronted coffer bandit on a absent adventure of Kojak. I sat on a bedrock alone there by a beat berg and stared bottomward the fjord. The avaricious midges had been abutting by swarms of Alaska’s accompaniment bird, the mosquito, and both swirled about my arch like commas and periods in the array of bad punctuation daydream a grammarian ability accept afterwards bistro consciousness-expanding rye grass.
The air was chilly, allotment morning temperature and allotment arctic cantankerous breezes. Chunks of ice glided boring accomplished in the water. A aerial beam of billow blocked the acme of the accomplished peaks. The day’s aboriginal able sunlight flashed like aflush lightning into the caliginosity of the fjord, and I anticipation of Muir’s acknowledgment to the aforementioned abnormality from a adjacent angle point: “We stood hushed and awe-stricken, gazing at the angelic vision, and had we apparent the blast accessible and God fabricated manifest, our absorption could not accept been added abundantly strained.”
I sat down, captivated my accoutrements about myself, and approved to blot nature’s magnificence. The baptize was like agitated paint. A brace of anchorage seals poked their bowling-ball faces aloft its apparent afore diving and abrogation concentric rings behind. All bottomward the beach, seaweed-covered rocks glowed amber and gold in the ascent morning sun.
And then, in the bend of my eye, one of the rocks started moving.
I STOOD UP SUDDENLY and kicked a apart bean bottomward the beach. The babble bent the absorption of the affective object, which on added analysis was a amber bear, conceivably 150 yards away. I approved to barometer its size, but what the hell did I know—this was the aboriginal buck I’d anytime apparent alfresco of a zoo. The buck and I stared at anniversary added for a moment afore it jogged off adjoin the blubbery coffer of saplings that grew aloof abaft the beach, endlessly a few anxiety short.
A additional buck emerged from the brush. A brace of bears acceptable meant cubs. Cubs meant their mother would anon follow. The aboriginal aphorism of buck encounters assuredly popped into my head: Never, ever, anytime get amid a mother buck and her cubs. Ever. In the assize of abominable deaths from grizzly attacks, blow letters involving affronted moms were those best acceptable to apply nouns like sinew in affiliation with verbs like disturbing and chewing.
As bound and accidentally as a man can while walking astern in adopted boots on glace rocks, I aloof adjoin our tents as the bears watched.
I knew that David was assured to beddy-bye for at atomic a brace added hours, so it was with conceivably a adumbration added than affability than was becoming below the affairs that I leaned over his covering and batten through the nylon. “Uh, David, I absolutely abhorrence to afflict you, but I anticipate there may be two bears bottomward actuality on the beach.”
“I’ll absolutely get up for that,” David said groggily.
David was accession who didn’t action at aiguille acceleration until he’d had his morning coffee. He stepped out of his covering with austere bedhead and cutting billowing pajamas cheers with little wolves on them, attractive like a behemothic second-grader who had awoken at a coma affair addled to acquisition himself not in his own home. He had the can of buck aerosol in duke as we absolved bottomward to the beach.
“These two attending about four years old,” he said as we approached the pair, who sniffed about the rocks abreast the waterline. “They were apparently aloof afresh afar from Mom. This island has no salmon, no blueberries, so there are no added big amber bears for them to anguish about.” We watched them for a brace of minutes. “Those are some skinny, scraggly bears,” David said as he alternated tucking anniversary of his sandaled anxiety abaft the adverse dogie to clean off athirst mosquitoes. “Looks like the citizenry of Russell Island today is two people, two bears, and 2 billion bugs.”
I wondered how—and when—they’d gotten here. “Are bears acceptable swimmers?” I asked.
“Oh, sure. Bears swim. Moose swim. Deer swim. Wolves swim. If they anticipate there’s article bigger to be begin on accession island, they’ll aloof go.”
David hopped up on a rock, clapped his hands, and shouted “Hey, bears!” a few times, in absolve that articulate as admitting he was aggravating to be encouraging. The brace absolved aback into the woods. David aching his arch and affronted to attending bottomward the fjord. “Wow, attending at this view, how the blooming ablaze on the mountains turns the baptize emerald green. My admired moment of the day.” He aerial his bug net for a moment to booty in the abounding spectrum of colors. “Actually, this ability be my admired atom in the esplanade I’ve anytime woken up in. And you got to see two bears! How about that?”
David set to assignment at the affected stove authoritative breakfast, unscrewing the aliment canisters to booty out the coffee and cereal. I’d affected that if I anytime saw a bear, I’d abandon my belly like an antelope that spots a bobcat on the savanna afore fleeing, but in the event, I’d been added absorbed than terrified. David said that was appealing normal. “The esplanade biologist actuality calls it bear-anoia. Beforehand, you’re all afraid about gigantic teeth and claws, and afresh you absolutely see one and you go, ‘Oh!’ You applause your hands, and it stands up and looks at you and runs away.”
The bears absolved out of the dupe already more, this time a little bit closer. David stood, clapped, and shouted a few times, a little louder than before. “Mark, arise angle abutting to me so we arise bigger,” he said. “We appetite to attending like a super-creature. See, there they go.” Already again, the brace chock-full and affronted adjoin the woods.
“I anticipate we’ll aloof accomplish coffee and skip the biscuit today,” David said, cloudburst hot baptize into a baptize canteen with coffee area as the bears slunk off into the alders. One of them paused to attending aback at us, acutely below than enthused about abiding to the brush, afore galloping away.
“Facing bottomward a buck is like adverse bottomward a drunk: You aloof accept to barefaced that you’re tougher than he is,” David said.
I sat on the coffer cat-and-mouse for the coffee to abrupt while David went to aback his elastic boots. The bears appeared again, but this time they were abaft us, alone about 30 anxiety from our tents. “Mark, I anticipate we’ll booty that coffee to go,” David shouted from up the beach. “Would you accompany the buck spray, please?”
I stood abutting to David, waving, clapping, and screaming, this time with some bend to it. “Hey, bears!” The bears had the aerial ground. The bolder of the two had taken a abrupt absorption in my tent. A anamnesis from bygone anesthetized through my mind: I had larboard a Clif Bar adhesive in the basal of my backpack, hadn’t I? I was adequate aback the buck larboard my covering and ambled in the administration of the kayak.
David did not like this development at all. He started agreeable so angrily that the attitude stood out in his neck. “Get the fuck abroad from my kayak, you fucking bear!” The buck stood bottomward as if demography breach and went aback to sniffing alfresco the tents. “We accept two days’ added aliment and bombastic baptize sources,” David explained. “But alone one kayak.” If a analytical buck stepped assimilate the affair fiberglass shell, it would bite a hole. The achievability of actuality trapped on this sliver of coffer with tho bears and one can of aerosol did not address to me, either. I bethink this vividly, because I accent it in my notebook, which, aback I pulled it out afterwards had dozens of midges smushed amid the pages.
We stood hushed and awe-stricken,” Muir wrote, “and had we apparent the blast accessible and God fabricated manifest, our absorption could not accept been added strained.”
“Are you demography notes?” David asked, his accoutrements bouncing like semaphore flags aerial over his head.
“This is my job, dude,” I said, alternating scribbles with duke waves. “Gotta get this being bottomward while it’s still hot.”
We shouted and waved, accept to shoulder, acquisitive the intruders would get the message. David apart the assurance bolt on the spray. The bolder buck was maybe 30 anxiety away, while the added afraid back. The brace abolished briefly into the alders, but afresh alternate appropriate away.
“Guess they’re calling our bluff,” David said. “Mark, aloof bandy all your being into your covering and annoyance it bottomward to the beach. We’ll amount up bound and get the heck out of here.”
We calm the aliment canisters and stove, tossed packs and boots into our tents, and aloof like the British at Dunkirk, dive-bombed by no-see-ums and mosquitoes. My covering snagged on a rock. David airtight a pole. Aloof as we accomplished the water’s bend with the aftermost pieces of gear, a gigantic white cruise address with a sunburst corrective on its ancillary glided into view. I absurd the cartage attractive through binoculars, apprehensive why two guys were aimlessly throwing things into a kayak as they swatted the air in advanced of their faces. I accordingly met the pilot of that address a few canicule later, and he recalled seeing us from the bridge. “I thought, Man, attending at that setup!” he said. “Those guys charge be accepting the time of their lives.”
We shoved off, paddled abroad from shore, and paused to attending back. The bears had arise bottomward to the water’s bend to coursing for mollusks. David caked actual able coffee into mugs and we watched the amber brothers go about their business. Muir, who consistently fatigued the accustomed affinities amid breed over their differences, already observed, “Bears are fabricated of the aforementioned dust as we, and they breathe the aforementioned apprehension and alcohol of the aforementioned waters.”
“They’re absolutely appealing beautiful from this far away,” David said, casual me my blood-warm coffee. “I assumption they aloof capital to get bottomward to the coffer the accomplished time. But it’s a acceptable admonition about Alaska. You can be in awe of the beauty, but you accept to bethink that things can go from ‘Ooh, aah!’ to ‘Oh, shit!’ in an instant.”
MARKD ADAMS is a biographer in New York City. Tip of the Iceberg: My 3,000-Mile Adventure About Wild Alaska, the Aftermost Great American Frontier, from which this adventure is adapted, is appear by Dutton.
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