Prospecting at Coghill and bear at Coswell

Outline of the state of AlaskaMonday, June 7, 1982—go like hell getting the rest of the gear ready to go to Coghill Lake. Windy here. Watching the weather, hope it will let us get there. Dan with his 185 Cessna will fly his brother Denny and me to prospect in the Coghill River and Lake Area.

Tuesday, June 8, 1982—up early, left Snowshoe Lake late, got to Coghill Lake and made camp. It rained with some fog. It was a great trip over the glaciers to Prince William Sound. We saw five black bears near where we camped, one was a monster! When we landed the plane there, we found a rubber raft that a bear had bit and put holes in it, leaked the air all out. We saw lots of ducks and swans and lots of beavers. We prospected most of the night. It got real late.

Wednesday, June 9, 1982—we prospected several creeks and got a small amount of gold. It will take a more expensive effort to see if this is worthwhile. We saw another black bear from the air. It’s still raining. The first night, Dan tied the plane up along the shore. He slept in the plane and Denny and I each had tarps. We crawled in our sleeping bags and wrapped up in our tarps. These were really tall trees and it was rainy. In the morning we discovered that where Denny had chosen to sleep, the darned water had run in underneath his tarp and he and everything in there was wet. Dan tried to start a fire but we couldn’t get the wood to burn—it was all too wet. Dan would drain off AV gas and we’d try to pour that on the wood to get it to burn, but it just wouldn’t burn. After a few failures like this, we got in the plane and flew over to near Coswell Lake and we got ourselves in to a forester cabin over there. There was dry wood and we got a fire going and got dry. Then we went out and got more wood and brought it is so it would dry out overnight from the heat from the stove. Denny, he chose to sleep up in the loft. This cabin was an A-frame and there were bunks on each side of the a-frame against the outside of the roof.

Thursday, June 10, 1982—I woke up looking a big black bear square in the eyes at two feet with the window between us. He was reared up with paws on the window and was looking at me. When I saw him, I yelled, “Bear! Get the hell outta here!” Dan, he heard that and he happened to be faced towards the side of the A-frame. He rose up so quickly, he hit his head on the A-frame. Then he had to flop around in the bunk and in the sleeping bag to get rolled over so he could see something. His brother Denny, up in the loft, slammed the door shut and stood on it so the bear wouldn’t get up there at him. (These two guys were thinking the bear was in the cabin.) But when they looked around, they saw there was no bear inside. We got all dressed and went out and we could see where the bears claws had gripped the edge of the porch (this is an overhanging lip over the porch) and the bear made a leap off of the porch and it was about 3.5 feet to the ground—he landed on all four feet, 18 feet—six big steps from the porch. You could see where he went running out through the grass and brush and stuff.

So we had breakfast and then Denny and I took guns and went out looking for the bear. A bear that time of year would make awfully good eating. We walked around and we saw paths that the bear had made walking through the grass and stuff. It was trying to rain all the time, but it was easy to track him. But we couldn’t get up to him. Finally later in the day we decided we would go to Whittier and out over Portage Pass in Anchorage. Dan is a pilot and he knows the ways and just how and where to go safely.

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