ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — A Muldoon resident says she was charged by a large brown bear while riding her bike with her dogs near an east Anchorage neighborhood Tuesday evening.
It happened at around 6:30 p.m. on a trail just off Kultina Street. Anaka Thorsted says she heard her dog Echo barking and growling, and when she turned her head to look behind her, she saw the bear coming after her.
“I stopped, got the bike and started screaming and yelling and waving my arms trying to look as big and as terrifying as I could,” Thorsted said.
The bear came within a few car-lengths of her before it stopped, turned around and left. Thorsted and her dogs were shaken, but unharmed. After calling the authorities, Thorsted left a handwritten poster at the trailhead warning the neighborhood.
“I think what was the most terrifying was I wasn’t on a back trail out in the woods backpacking like I do,” she said. “I mean, I was 100 feet from a house.”
The encounter comes two weeks after a bear killed 44-year-old Mike Soltis, and injured a member of the group searching for him in the Eagle River area.
The Department of Fish and Game spent days searching for the bear in an effort to shoot it, but spokesman Ken Marsh says the trail has gone cold and they’ve since dismantled the traps intended to catch the animal.
One resident in Eagle River’s Hiland Road area said the nearby Southpark trailhead has been all but empty since the attack. But on Independence Day, the parking lot there was packed with cars, and dozens of hikers were out on the trail taking advantage of the good weather.
While the recent fatal mauling was on the minds of many, some hikers said they weren’t too concerned for their safety.
“We live right over there and so we heard about it and we just brought our bear spray and we’re just going to be on alert and wish for the best,” said hiker Jennifer Houcek.
“We know that bears are here, and moose and every other animal,” said Hannah Fronapfel. “So we’re not worried about it. We just respect their space and stay aware.”