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North Pole woman uses insect repellent to fend off Granite Tors grizzly
newsminer.com ^ | 15 July, 2012 | Tim Mowry

Posted on 07/22/2012 8:46:39 AM PDT by marktwain

FAIRBANKS — Holding her walking stick in one hand and a bottle of natural insect repellent in the other, Alyson Jones-Robinson wished she had a gun.

There was a grizzly bear standing only a few feet in front of her, snapping its teeth and growling at her and her two nieces, 13 and 9, who were huddled behind her, as was her husky, Rowyn.

“It was a very surreal experience,” 43-year-old Jones-Robinson said on Friday, a day after the ordeal. “All I could think about was this bear is

so close to me I can see its teeth. I could have kissed it. I wished I had a gun.”

The bear, which confronted Jones-Robinson and the two girls as they were hiking the 15-mile Granite Tors Trail in the Chena River State Recreation Area about 40 miles east of Fairbanks on Thursday, wasn’t a large one — probably a 2- or 3-year-old that Jones-Robinson estimated weighed between 100 and 200 pounds — but it was big enough and acting aggressively enough that she knew it was trouble.

“I’m 5-foot-5, and it came up to my chest,” she said, describing the size of the bear.

It already had bluff charged the group several times after they encountered it on the trail about five miles from the trailhead at 39.5 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road. It definitely wasn’t afraid of them, Jones-Robinson said.

“It was terrifying,” she said. “On a scale of one to 10, it was above a 10. My adrenaline was going so fast all I could think of was getting the kids and dog to safety.

“I told the girls if the bear attacked me to take the dog and don’t look back, to get off the mountain and go until they found somebody,” Jones-Robinson said.

One bear or two?

After camping out on the trail Wednesday, Jones-Robinson and her nieces, who are visiting from Washington state, were hiking to the trailhead early Thursday afternoon when the bear appeared in front of them. Jones-Robinson told the girls to run back up the trail to get away while she confronted the bear.

“It was kind of trotting around me, and then it would charge and growl,” said Jones-Robinson, an English professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “It charged, and I used my bear spray when it was about four feet away and then I fell with my pack on and dropped the bear spray.”

The bear retreated for a moment but then came back and began circling Jones-Robinson, who took her pack off and threw a package of macaroni and cheese at the bear hoping to distract it.

That’s when she heard the girls yelling back on the trail.

“As it circled around me, I heard the girls yell, ‘There’s another one. There’s another bear up here,’” Jones-Robinson said.

She told the girls to drop their packs where they were and come back to her. The first bear, meanwhile, still was circling Jones-Robinson. She fumbled into the dog’s pack for the bottle of Natrapel, a natural mosquito repellent she uses because she’s allergic to traditional bug dope.

When the bear tried to bite her dog, Jones-Robinson smacked it in the head with her walking stick. The girls had returned by now and were cowering behind their aunt, as was the dog.

“It charged again, and I hit it over the head and held out my bug spray like this,” Jones-Robinson said, brandishing the bottle of Natrapel in front of her. “I hit it like three or four times.”

The dog, meanwhile, tried to attack the bear each time it charged, adding to the chaos.

“I had to hold her back the whole time,” Jones-Robinson said.

Not over yet

After what seemed like an eternity but really was only a matter of a minute or two, the bear finally retreated and the frightened hikers continued toward the trailhead with Jones-Robinson carrying her broken walking stick and bottle of insect repellent.

But the ordeal wasn’t over yet. The bear followed the hikers for about a mile, bluff charging them several more times before it finally wandered off.

“It was like a shark in the water,” she said. “It would circle around and circle around and then rush us and snap its teeth and growl.

“Every time it rushed, it would rush at my nieces,” she said. “I was basically walking backward and forward swinging my walking stick trying to anticipate charges.”

The two girls, who Jones-Robinson declined to name, “were troupers,” she said.

“They did everything they were trained to do,” Jones-Robinson said, noting that the girls did bear poses to make themselves look bigger. “My youngest niece was really scared. Even though she was crying and upset the whole time she didn’t do any high-pitched squeals.

“At one point, my oldest niece took off in the woods to lead the bear away from my youngest niece,” she said.

Jones-Robinson only sprayed it with mosquito repellent one time, which she said had no effect on the bear, but she credits the bottle for helping hold the bear at bay, possibly because she hit it with bear spray early in the encounter.

“It knew I had something in my hand that would spray it,” she said. “I think that’s what kept it from coming any closer.”

Jones-Robinson got the feeling the bear was sizing her and the girls up.

“I don’t know if it was bluff charging or ascertaining our ability,” she said. “I think it was ascertaining whether I was a predator that it could handle. It knew it had to get through me first.”

Jones-Robinson never did see a second bear, which the girls told her was smaller than the other one, but she has no reason to believe there wasn’t a second bear.

Trail still open

State park ranger Dane Happ, who spoke to Jones-Robinson by phone Thursday after the incident, suspects the bear or bears that accosted the hikers are one or both of the same cubs that were seen with a sow along the trail and in the campground at the trailhead last year.

“I’m wondering if this is related,” Happ said. “I wonder if this bear is one of the cubs that got kicked away by its mom.”

The trail remains open and park rangers on Friday were in the process of putting up signs to alert hikers of the situation, Happ said.

Anyone hiking the trail should be bear aware, the ranger said. Happ recommended hiking in groups and making lots of noise to alert bears. If camping, keep a clean camp and keep food away from the campsite, he said.

Happ advised against leaving backpacks or food behind if confronted by a bear because it habituates them to humans. Once a bear gets food from a backpack, it conditions them to think all backpacks contain food, the ranger said.

“It sounds like this one is getting habituated,” Happ said.

When they finally reached the trailhead a couple hours after the confrontation, Jones-Robinson said her adrenaline was still pumping.

“When I got down off the mountain I collapsed,” she said. “I was overwhelmed.”

Their ordeal wasn’t over.

When they got to the trailhead a couple hours later, Jones-Robinson and the girls had to hitch a ride to Chena Hot Springs Resort because the keys to their car were in her backpack, which was 5 miles back up the trail, and their spare key was locked inside the car. They had to hire a locksmith to open the car.

Jones-Robinson still was having a hard time comprehending the whole thing Friday.

“If somebody had told me I would hold off one or possibly two bears with a walking stick and a can of natural insect repellent I would have told them they were crazy, but you do what you gotta do,” she said. “I wasn’t going to let that bear eat my dog and I definitely wasn’t going to let it eat my nieces.”

Which might explain why Jones-Robinson went out and bought a gun Friday.

Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.

Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Woman two girls get bear scare on Granite Tors Trail


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Alaska
KEYWORDS: ak; banglist; bear; defense
Gutsy woman. I wonder if she is single?
1 posted on 07/22/2012 8:46:48 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain

A grizzly is just an extra-large mosquito...


2 posted on 07/22/2012 8:48:34 AM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (Obama Kills))
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To: marktwain

3 posted on 07/22/2012 8:48:46 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain

I heard about this from Park rangers when I was in Alaska last week. Lots of bear activity this year. I saw about 10 of them in a short time.


4 posted on 07/22/2012 8:52:32 AM PDT by StolarStorm
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To: marktwain

What the heck kind of Husky cowers behind a grandma? More like a Yorki.


5 posted on 07/22/2012 8:53:18 AM PDT by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: marktwain

UPDATE! ABC News Ace Investigative Report Brian Ross has uncovered that there are several members of the ‘Alaskan Tea Party’ with he name of Bear. Let’s all hope he stays on this story!


6 posted on 07/22/2012 8:56:39 AM PDT by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: marktwain

Wow, she is kinda hot looking, and only 300 miles north of me!


7 posted on 07/22/2012 8:56:54 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (Going mobile, posts will be brief. No spellcheck for the grammar nazis.)
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To: marktwain
Jones-Robinson went out and bought a gun Friday

Notice the Batman T-shirt. And she is a red head. The most dangerous place in the world is between a mother and it's child, nieces are 2nd most dangerous.

8 posted on 07/22/2012 8:56:54 AM PDT by Texas Fossil (Government, even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one)
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To: marktwain

Those poor girls. They’re gonna go through life with nobody ever believing them.... :-)


9 posted on 07/22/2012 9:01:12 AM PDT by JoeDetweiler
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To: saganite

“What the heck kind of Husky cowers behind a grandma? More like a Yorki.”

“The dog, meanwhile, tried to attack the bear each time it charged, adding to the chaos.”

Not real clear how the dog behaved.


10 posted on 07/22/2012 9:03:58 AM PDT by JoeDetweiler
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To: Eye of Unk

Yeh...but the price of gas today...


11 posted on 07/22/2012 9:06:51 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: JoeDetweiler

Ah, I see. It pays to read the whole article. lol


12 posted on 07/22/2012 9:07:10 AM PDT by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: marktwain

Hiking in grizzly country without TWO large cans of bear spray on each person? No thanks.

Kudos to author Mowry for correctly writing “The two girls were troupers.” “Journalists” these days regularly confuse them with soldiers or state police officers.


13 posted on 07/22/2012 9:11:58 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: saganite

Why infringe on the most time-honored of all FR traditions, commenting before reading the whole article and the existing comments.


14 posted on 07/22/2012 9:13:47 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Eye of Unk

and she hikes! I’m so tired of the TV watching, afraid of the outdoors, mall shopping types in my part of the country.


15 posted on 07/22/2012 9:15:57 AM PDT by StolarStorm
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To: Sacajaweau

In Alaska down here in Wasilla it has dropped a bit to around $3.89 a gallon. She is hot though, don’t care for the stud thing in the lip though. I’m partial to redheads and especially strawberry blondes.


16 posted on 07/22/2012 9:18:30 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (Going mobile, posts will be brief. No spellcheck for the grammar nazis.)
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To: marktwain
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
17 posted on 07/22/2012 9:19:13 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: marktwain

“(Ranger) Happ advised against leaving backpacks or food behind if confronted by a bear because it habituates them to humans.”

So he’s saying that it’s better to let the bear rip you apart for the food. This guy seems more interested in the welfare of bears than he does the welfare of people.

He needs to be fired.


18 posted on 07/22/2012 9:20:12 AM PDT by BobL
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To: marktwain
I wonder if she is single?

LOL Same thing I was thinking as I read the article.

19 posted on 07/22/2012 9:20:33 AM PDT by kanawa
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To: StolarStorm

Speaking of that I am hoping the rain will end so I can head out and do some gold prospecting, the particular gold detector I have is very good but it isn’t waterproof.

I know the lower 49 is having a heat wave, ironically this summer here is the coldest so far, has set a record.

Might explain why all the bears are acting weird across the state. Its not just a singular case, seems to be a LOT more than normal bear encounters.


20 posted on 07/22/2012 9:23:34 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (Going mobile, posts will be brief. No spellcheck for the grammar nazis.)
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To: saganite
More like a Yorki.

I have yet to hear of a Yorki that would run from anything.

21 posted on 07/22/2012 9:24:37 AM PDT by carenot (We'd rather hold on to the myth than fight for the reality)
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To: marktwain

I wonder if they make natural bear repellent?


22 posted on 07/22/2012 9:24:54 AM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

I wonder if a can of spray paint would give a bear pause,especially if you got it in the eyes.....


23 posted on 07/22/2012 9:27:47 AM PDT by goat granny
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To: marktwain
Which might explain why Jones-Robinson went out and bought a gun Friday.

Great O-Henry-style ending.

24 posted on 07/22/2012 9:30:37 AM PDT by C210N ("ask not what the candidate can do for you, ask what you can do for the candidate" (Breitbart, 2012))
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To: goat granny

A can of wasp killer and a match should do fine.


25 posted on 07/22/2012 9:32:01 AM PDT by Paradox (I want Obama defeated. Period.)
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To: carenot
My Yorkie “Winchester” is absolutely fearless. He has stood down many large breeds. I find it interesting and always wonder when a large breed will take Winchester with one bite.
26 posted on 07/22/2012 9:32:47 AM PDT by mosaicwolf (Strength and Honor)
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To: Paradox
I have heard of improvised flame throwers but didn't know if they really worked..
27 posted on 07/22/2012 9:42:50 AM PDT by goat granny
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To: Paradox

“A can of wasp killer and a match should do fine.’

True. Wasp killer can work just as well if not better than pepper spray. Also good for human attackers. But it’s illegal to use it that way supposedly.


28 posted on 07/22/2012 9:47:41 AM PDT by Rennes Templar
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To: goat granny

A 37 mm flare pistol loaded with the appropriate “flare” will induce “Burnt Bruin Behavior” each and every time. Once a bear finds its fur on fire, its nose full of smoking holes, its ears crisped, and can’t figure why the sun suddenly got so dark - at that point it is not a risk to the flare gun user.

As the Bear BBQ has started, do not hike without a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce.


29 posted on 07/22/2012 9:51:11 AM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is necessary to examine principles."...the public interest)
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To: cripplecreek

ROFLOL!!


30 posted on 07/22/2012 9:57:04 AM PDT by Clara Lou
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To: Sherman Logan

Not just FR, the Internet. Someone here has the tag line, proudly posting without reading the article.


31 posted on 07/22/2012 10:11:03 AM PDT by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: JoeDetweiler

“Not real clear how the dog behaved.”

I suspect the the girls were holding the dog back there for its own protection. I doubt very seriously any dog would hide behind its human as was implied by the story. I’ve seen little yip dogs try to take on horses.


32 posted on 07/22/2012 10:11:22 AM PDT by LaserJock
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To: marktwain

Being unarmed in such an area is unwise.


33 posted on 07/22/2012 10:17:06 AM PDT by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: Eye of Unk

You need to get to town more often...


34 posted on 07/22/2012 10:19:15 AM PDT by stormer
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To: marktwain

I hope she bought at least a .44 Remington Magnum.


35 posted on 07/22/2012 10:20:12 AM PDT by bandleader
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To: cripplecreek

Yep, and there i was kneeling over this bear turd making sure it was the smell of pepper that my keen nose detected when suddenly this paw came out of nowhere and..........Well anyways that is how this here ear ended up getting sewn back onto my neck kids. It just goes to show you, do not bend over in the woods when bears are around.


36 posted on 07/22/2012 10:20:41 AM PDT by Plumberman27
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To: cripplecreek

I literally LOL’d at the end of your sign.


37 posted on 07/22/2012 10:25:43 AM PDT by Timmy
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To: marktwain

Two words.......Marlin 45-70.


38 posted on 07/22/2012 10:51:55 AM PDT by MachIV
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To: Sherman Logan
Why infringe on the most time-honored of all FR traditions, commenting before reading the whole article and the existing comments.

LOLOLOL!

39 posted on 07/22/2012 12:00:01 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic (ABO)
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40 posted on 07/22/2012 12:15:46 PM PDT by RedMDer (https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/default.aspx?tsid=93destr)
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To: marktwain

For an English professor, her narrative of the event is the most stupid and convoluted crap I have read to date.

Not to mention the headline is misleading as all get out. She states she had early on used bear spray on the bear to no avail. But her au natural bug spray had nothing to do with fending off the attack, now if she had been using industrial strength wasp and hornet spray, I could believe it deterred said bear.


41 posted on 07/22/2012 12:23:20 PM PDT by Sea Parrot (Don't ever think that the reason I am peaceful is because I forgot how to be violent)
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To: goat granny
I'm sure it would, but you have very limited range. Do you want an enraged bear two feet away from you? Besides, he's going to be really pissed as a "marked bear."

I carry "Counter Assault" in bear country, but luckily have never had to use it. The 290 gram can is claimed to be effective out to 32 feet -- that's a much more comfortable distance for me.

The pros say to carry two cans - one to stop the main attack and the other to stop a second attack on your way back to the trailhead after you've emptied the first can. Check out the short vid here.

42 posted on 07/22/2012 1:35:15 PM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: LaserJock

My jack russel terrior kept jumping at my mules face. This went on for a while. Finally, one day the mule took his
back hoof and rolled the dog over as it went past him. The dog stopped and looked at him and never bothered him again.


43 posted on 07/22/2012 4:37:47 PM PDT by Cowgirl
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To: GladesGuru
As the Bear BBQ has started, do not hike without a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce...

Some entrepreneur must make Bearbeque sauce somewheres...


44 posted on 07/22/2012 5:43:04 PM PDT by C210N ("ask not what the candidate can do for you, ask what you can do for the candidate" (Breitbart, 2012))
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