Under normal circumstances, this is good! I am glad to have had a summer of hiking in bear country free of surprise bear encounters. However, there is one thing on my Southeast Alaska summer bucket list that I haven't checked off yet and it is "See a Goddamn Bear". I go to places that, objectively, there should be bears. I have seen fresh bear scat and recent bear prints. I hang out around streams full of salmon and prime bear mealtimes. I am house sitting for some folks who apparently see bears like every night, except apparently the nights that I am staying in their house. I hike in woods full of blueberry bushes, far from the road and main recreation areas. I hike quietly. There are signs alerting me to "recent bear activity" on ninety percent of my hikes. A bear walked past my old apartment while I was asleep. I AM A PRIME BEAR TARGET. AND YET. NO BEARS IN SIGHT.

At least the Stellar Sea Lions love me. Love me so much that they pop up fifteen feet away while I'm swimming and terrify me. See, bears? Why can't you be more like sea lions?

Everyone, please think bear thoughts for me from now until Friday.