Sunday, June 29, 2008


I heard stories about Sep before I met him two weeks ago. He was mushing his dog team over a pass last October when a starving grizzly attacked. All but two of his dogs were killed. Sep tried unsuccessfully to defend himself with his ice hook, but it wasn't until the bear put both forepaws on Sep's shoulders that he realized what Sep was and then retreated in primal fear. When Sep came back with reinforcements, the bear had already eaten a dog and a half, and they shot the old boy in the lungs. He died almost instantly; his pelt was auctioned by the state and the money was put into a fund for game management.

Sep is tall and slim and almost toothless. I would put him at somewhere between 50 and 65 years old. He has a thick accent from Germany or wherever he came from years ago to trap and pick berries and mush dogs here in Alaska. He lives on his own and doesn't seem to have any further ambitions than to keep doing what he's doing until he's too old to do it anymore or else has another, less fortunate encounter with a grizzly.

Sep said he was saving money for an airline ticket since his mother had written him a letter begging him to come visit her in his home country one last time. What a strange thing, to ask someone to visit you one last time before you die.


Heather said...
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Heather said...

So, you met this guy, huh? Hmmm, poor fellow. Why is it that people still do the dog sledding thing in Alaska? I've seen a starving grizzly at work, I'm glad I wasn't Sep! Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Have a wonderful day!