One Shadow on the Path
(the journal of the author’s single trek across Alaska from the Aleutian Islands to the Arctic Circle)
In the back country of Denali the night lay thick and predatory. I drew myself up into a tight ball in my down sleeping bag, squirming to stoke up some body heat… All the energy I’d spent worrying and planning for coping with the wildlife while camping seemed niggling when I considered the 400-pound grizzly pacing in the riverbed nearby.
At the far end of the remote campground was a small food locker for campers to store food and any item that had a scent that might attract bears. I seriously considered holing up in the food locker for the night, but the huge sliding bar on the outside set off my claustrophobic anxiety. I grasped my pathetically inadequate pepper spray in one hand, my hunting knife in the other, and tried to convince myself I was about as prepared as I could be for my huge neighbor. I would soon learn there was something even more threatening awaiting me, which I was not prepared for.…something that the travel books didn’t warn me about…
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