The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Wildlife makes for lively morning at Clear Creek

 


It was one of those beautiful sunny Saturday mornings here in Seward. Just after 7:30 a.m., I took two larger Folgers cans filled with cracked corn out to feed the ducks on Clear Creek. Seeing me approach the shoreline with their feed buckets, more than 100 ducks swam, flew and quacked right to their feeding area. They hit the beach like our soldiers did at Normandy on June 6, 1944 (known as D-Day).

All was normal. Most of the ducks dived in as only a few waited for a spot to open. One hen found an excellent position right between my feet. These ducks knew who was boss – they were.

All was peaceful – the sun playing on Mount Benson, slowly filling the valley floor with precious sunlight and heat.

Dressed rather casually in my black Harley-Davidson bathrobe, XtraTufs and my trademark Marlboro cigarette, all topped off with a hairdo that resembled some electric shock patient from an insane asylum.

A “good morning” from a female voice from across the creek startled me and I turned around. Apparently my ducks and I were not alone. On the porch of the rental cabin was a couple – California tanned and enjoying the show. We made introductions and exchanged pleasantries. She allowed that she was born and raised in Alaska and went to Berkeley for college where she met her husband.

The husband was small eyed, tanned, enjoying the ducks. She went on to inform me that they both loved wildlife and decided to go to Alaska for their honeymoon.

Just as she finished with her story, a black bear came down my ridge, crossed my driveway and headed for the creek. He was going fishing. The honeymooners saw the bear and gasped.

An eagle flew up the creek at this time, presumably to look for fish, but silently cussing me out due to my presence over the ducks. The ducks continued to feed, taking no notice of this B-17 flying overhead.

The honeymooners were beside themselves.

Squirrels began to play and chatter. Small birds arrived and began chirping.

She said, “Oh. How cute.”

At this moment, as if on cue, a brown bear sow with several cubs came off the ridge and led them to the creek. She was trying to show her cubs how to fish. The honeymooners were in awe. They came to Clear Creek to have a honeymoon retreat and maybe see a puffin on a boat trip. Instead they had this wildlife display, stretching some 300 feet, and they only had to be on their front porch!

I thought silently to myself, “This can’t last long.” I was right.

Up behind me, high on the ridge, I heard a moose bellow, twigs snap, branches break and the squirrels on the ridge were chattering as if to give the play-by-play action to their fellow woodland creatures.

The honeymooners were in wonder.

All along the creek looked toward the trail head upstream. The sow moved her cubs slightly downstream along the shoreline when the largest bull moose I’ve seen in a very long time appeared at a fast run with looked like to be a blur of fur, fangs and claws attached to the his hindquarters. For a split second I glanced and though I recognized he bear. Yep, it was Slew Foot and I thought I saw him look at me and grin, while preparing with a claw to perform a proctology exam on the moose.

In two bounds the moose, with Slew Foot attached, arrived at the stump across the creek. The moose had to make a quick decision – go right, upstream away from the honeymooners, or left, downstream toward them. He chose left.

The honeymooners, who had just moments before experienced a wildlife extravaganza beyond their wildest hopes, now saw this fully grown bull moose charging right at them. The man, whose eyes were previously half opened, were now the size of dinner plates. His skin color went from California tan to Fairbanks white. His mouth opened but only a feeble screech emerged from his quivering lips. His wife was in a state of extreme terror. She placed her right foot toward the door, actually got her right hand on the doorknob while broadcasting the most blood curdling scream you could possibly imagine.

The moose shot right past the porch, and I mean shot.

Slew Food had apparently proceeded with his proctology exam, and this shock sent the moose into a forward motion akin to warp speed.

I heard a truck on Old Exit Glacier Road hit the brakes hard and general ruckus toward Box Canyon Creek.

The honeymooners retired inside the cabin, probably shaken. The black bear downstream went back to fishing. The ducks resumed destroying 10 pounds of cracked corn. The small birds began to chirp.

After the echo of the lady’s scream had dissipated, the brown bear sow moved her cubs back to the previous location. The squirrels quieted right down. Apparently they don’t have a commentary after the play-by-play.

Some 20 minutes later or so, the honeymooners emerged from their cabin. Both were dressed in different attire and their skin didn’t look quite so pasty. As they were stepping off the porch, she waved and nodded taking no notice of a mallard who was atop their car. They drove off, turned toward town obviously in great need of a little civilization after the wildlife experience they had witnessed.

That afternoon I heard Slew Foot up on his ridge, and I thought I heard him laugh.

 

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