The rash of early-season Anchorage bear encounters worsened Sunday morning when a 30-year-old Eagle River hiker was mauled by a grizzly sow protecting her cub on the Penguin Creek Trail, which branches off from the Bird Creek Trail, approximately a 35-minute drive south of Anchorage.
Solo hiker Benjamin E. Radakovich was swiped repeatedly by the sow and eventually managed to escape by climbing high into a nearby tree and calling 911 from there at 7:42 a.m.
According to KTUU, Radakovich had pepper spray with him, but the episode unfolded so quickly he didn't have a chance to use it. Instead, he curled up in an effort to protect his vital organs as the sow took swipes. During a lull, Radakovich managed to scramble up the tree.
The troopers' helicopter was called in to transport Radakovich to Providence Alaska Medical Center.