Conan's Alaska Adventure, Part Three : Blog Of The Nation On day three of Neal Conan's Alaska adventures, the travelers found a family of marmots. But that's not all the trail held — some of them also found a grizzly bear. He didn't pose for a photo, but it made a pretty good birthday present for Susan Miller Cormier.
NPR logo Conan's Alaska Adventure, Part Three

Conan's Alaska Adventure, Part Three

A marmot, climbing on the rocks in Alaska. Susan Miller Cormier/ hide caption

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Susan Miller Cormier/

A marmot, climbing on the rocks in Alaska.

Susan Miller Cormier/

As the riders gathered around the horses after lunch, Nancy skittered down the slope above Horsefeld Creek. "We found a family of marmots," she said. "Two adults and a baby. I need to find Susan's other cameras." Lynn Schooler located the equipment and watched Nancy clamber back up the hill. "Marmots.". A former guide himself, he shook his head. "If you can't find moose or bear, marmots can be awful damn cute."

About half an hour after the ride resumed, leader Mark Koehler called a halt and the word whispered back. Grizzly bears.

After he scoped out the situation and checked back on the rest of his charges, Koehler collected Susan and her cameras and they set off, up and across the slope.

Susan, a grandmother from Louisiana, came on this trip to photograph wildlife, but packed doubts along with her cameras; questions anout her physical condition, her skill on horeback and her ability to keep up on foot across difficult ground.

On their return, Susan and Mark reported that the bear had declined to pose, but the effort could hardly be judged a failure.

On Friday, Susan turned 52. On Monday, she stalked a grizzly bear in the Alaskan Wilderness.

Happy birthday.

Stay tuned for two more reports from Neal next week!