Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Hardest Test – Jerry Kobalenko

Rating: ***
Jerry Kobalenko pulls you in with an exciting start. He starts the excerpt with, "That night, the shrill, boiling kettle whisper of our bear alarm fence woke us up. Shot gun and flares in hand, I unzipped the tent door." This opening leads you to want to know what is going to happen, so you have to read on.

In this excerpt Jerry Kobalenko is telling an anecdote from his own adventures up North. The bear alarm fence around Kobalenko’s camp went off once, and nothing appeared to be there so he went back to bed. When he heard the bear alarm go off another time a while later, he just assumed it was another false alarm. When Kobalenko opened his tent door a second time he noticed that his sled carrying all his gear had moved about six feet, and only one thing could do that. Sure enough almost forty meters away were two young adult polar bears dashing off. One of them had something in its mouth, so they yelled at them but they came closer, so Kobalenko threw a flare at them to scare them off. The polar bear dropped what was in its mouth during the retreat, but the sled had a small tear right where Jerry Kobalenko’s seal skinned boots were. This situation could have turned out badly, but Kobalenko and his friend were lucky.

This article has shown me that you need to be very careful with wild animals in the wilderness. Jerry Kobalenko and his friend were lucky in a dangerous situation. Kobalenko should have been more careful with bear proofing his stuff. In Ontario we put up bear bags so bears and racoons don`t come to our camps. It seems as if in the Arctic were Kobalenko was that bears are more of a reality than in Ontario. I would like to see a polar bear, but from a great distance like five hundred meters to a kilometre away. Not forty meters away!

I recommend reading this article for yourself, so you too can understand just how dangerous polar bears can be, with their laser accuracy, and their insanely sharp claws. This excerpt is from the book Arctic Eden: Journeys Through the Changing High Arctic, so maybe if you read the article you will read the book someday too.

Kobalenko, Jerry. "The Hardest Test". Explore (Canada's Outdoor Magazine), September/ October 2010. Print

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