Sue’s brother-in-law Jim Hawkins and his children Joe Ben and Ibby visited us for four weeks this summer.  And wow did they bring out the bears!  Early in their visit, twice in fact, I was driving the Sterling Highway north of Skilak Lake and a black bear crossed the road in front of my car! I hiked the Harding Ice Field Trail and saw a sow and cub first beside the trail, then later walking my same trail ahead of me.  Then when Jim, Gary, Johan and I were hiking the Johnson Pass Trail we saw a black bear and a brown bear with cub.  What luck!  But the topper was when Sue and I were driving Jim and his kids to Anchorage this week, taking them to the airport.  This time, driving Sterling Highway north of Skilak Lake a sow and TRIPLET cubs crossed the road in front of us! In fact, they were so close that we had to stop, and our presence scared the final cub so that it turned and went back away from the road.  We had stopped to watch and try to take pictures, and when we rolled down the van windows we heard the lone cub crying for its mom. It climbed a tree, then paced back and forth, trying to find a safe way to join its family. So we continued on our way and allowed the cub to do the same.  I have had full years when I didn’t see a single bruin, so this July was by contrast a great month for bears.

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