“Bear! Please stop! It’s plastic. It doesn’t even taste good!”
It’s a bit late for a lesson in wildlife etiquette, but someone might point out to Alaskan adventurer Mary Maley that bears don’t respond politely to requests—or to bear spray.
After setting out on a solo kayak trip from Ketchikan to Petersburg, Alaska, Maley encountered a black bear outside of a U.S. Forest Service cabin in Berg Bay.
“I had just carried my tent, food, and all my gear into the cabin to dry while I went on a four-mile hike,” said Maley. “I heard something outside as I ate my lunch, and well, I never got to go on that hike.”
Maley’s first tack was to whip out her bear spray. “Thank you for leaving my kayak alone!” she yelled to the bear. “I’m going to pepper spray you in the face! That’s what I’m gonna do to you!”
The bear bristled at the spray, and opted instead to sink its teeth into the backband of her kayak while Maley pleaded with it to stop.
Her appeals may have gone unregistered, but that didn’t stop her from shouting at the bear over and over, begging it to leave her gear alone. And given that the trek was 150 miles through remote terrain, we can sympathize with her over-the-top enjoinders.
Though Maley’s gear was damaged, we’re happy to hear that she wasn’t left stranded. “Shortly after, the bear left and I drug the kayak back to the cabin doorstep,” she said. “Then I swam to the S/V anchored in the bay.” She ended up in Wrangell, Alaska, where she proceeded to fix her kayak—and presumably stock up on bear spray and lozenges.