Deering Travel Blog› entry 26 of 38 › view all entries
I walked to the north end of the airstrip then followed a gravel bar toward the creek. It is difficult to miss tracks on the ground and I quickly spotted those of a bear. A big bear. Someone from camp had walked down there fairly recently and the bear tracks covered some of the boot prints. Like all the bear tracks I had seen this summer, these seemed to progress in one direction as though passing through. I couldn't tell where they left the gravel bar to enter the willows so continued on my own walk.
When I returned to camp, I learned that Matt had been down there two evenings ago and the boot tracks were his. So I decided to go back to get a picture for him … 'stalked by a bear!' As I approached the overlapping prints, something in the water behind nearby willows made a loud, repeated splashing noise; less than thirty feet away.
If it was a bear, it would have done one of two things: pop its head up to see who yelled; or scramble out of the water and up the opposite bank. The splashing stopped for only a few seconds but nothing scurried. I backed up further and climbed onto an old fuel drum which marked a corner of the airstrip.
I tossed a rock into the willows and yelled again. Silence. Something in there must be preparing to charge. Adrenalin kicked in and as I considered setting down the camera and loading the shot-gun, I spotted a duck with six young drifting away toward the river. Their splashing had sounded like something big, really big, wading across the narrow waterway.