Sunday, January 6, 2008

How to plan a trip to Alsaka, ShallowGal Style

Step 1) On a whim (1) decide to go to Alaska with PCSguy and all three kids. Decide to go for broke and invite 80-year-old mother-in-law. Start hoarding xanax.

Step 2) Point out to PCSguy that children who wake up at 5 am are unlikely to sleep later in the land of the 24-hour-sun, in a porta-crib, with a 4 hour time difference. Refuse to go any further until PCSguy signs a contract agreeing that all earlier risers are his problem. Obtain said contract, file in a safe place.

Step 3) Start checking weather in Alaska. Today's high is 9. Decide to go in the summer.

Step 4) Book two mini-suites on the Coral Princess. Buy airfare, book land portion and most importantly, buy travel insurance.

Step 5) Develop a bear strategy. Fact: I am terrified of bears. I think this is a very rational fear (2) and I'm sticking to it.

Now the state of New Hampshire says this (emphasis mine):

What should I do if I encounter a bear?
If you see a bear, keep your distance. Make it aware of your presence by clapping, talking, singing or making other sounds. If you get too close to a bear, it may slap the ground, huff, blow and chomp its teeth or rush you (this is referred to as "bluff charge") in an attempt to get you to move a more comfortable distance away. If this occurs, maintain eye contact with the bear, speak in a soft, calm voice and slowly back away from the bear. These actions will help appease the bear and show that you are not weak, but, at the same time, not a threat to the bear. Do not run, avert your eyes or turn your back to the bear. The bear may perceive weakness and enforce dominance.

What on earth is this guy trying to prove?

However WikiHow says this:

Stand tall, even if the bear charges you. If the bear sees you and is closer than 300 feet, or if the bear is approaching you, remain calm and try to look as large as possible. Try to back away slowly—do not run—and speak softly. If the bear continues to approach as you back away, stop and stand your ground. Speak more loudly in a deep, calm voice, and wave you arms to make yourself look bigger. Keep an eye on the bear, but avoid direct eye contact. Do not be aggressive, but do not crouch down, play dead or otherwise show fear or vulnerability. If the bear charges you, muster all your courage and stay where you are: the charge is most likely a bluff, and if you stand your ground the bear will turn away.

So the only thing they agree on is that one should remain calm. I know, right?

Now if it's a black bear, all bets are off. Play dead, don't play dead, fight, run, climb, don't climb; apparently not enough people have survived a bear attack to know. One book suggested determining the bear's motivation before proceeding. You know, "Hi bear, are you hungry? Lonely? Feeling left out? Frustrated?"

After many hours of research and debate PCSguy and I have come up with the following bear strategy: He will first determine what kind of bear it is, determine it's motivation and then distract the bear as appropriate. I will get the kids to safety. The man will take a bear for me, is that love or what? Still, I should probably get that one in writing too.

1) Seriously, I spent longer at Home Depot choosing a handle for my patio door than I spend deciding to go on vacation.
2) Unlike my fear of Lucy and Ricky impersonators which I fully admit is irrational.


Anonymous said...

It is true that I have accepted the position of Vice President, Bear Management. Somehow I think this has less to do with my skill set than it does with the nice sized insurance policy that ShallowGal has on me, but I'll take what I can get.


The Jet Set Girls said...

Can't grizzly bears run 30 miles an hour and eat people? They make movies about that you know.