A Bad Trip in Polar Bear Country


My guide, we’ll call him Hank, picks me up from the Fairbanks airport and makes multiple stops to retrieve gear, all of which appears to date back to the Soviet era. In the truck, Hank shakes an old can of bear spray to see if it has anything left in it, before tossing it into the center console, where it begins to leak. My eyes blister, my throat thickens, and I roll down the window to gulp air. Hank coughs and cries but refuses to make a big deal about grizzly-grade pepper spray filling up the cab. He offers to close the lid to the console. I suggest that

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