January 12, 2023
Written by Pearson Bonnett, Assistant Director of Lodge Operations
The Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre sees a large variety of patrons including Liberty University students, avid skiers or snowboarders, and the many families of the Lynchburg area. While most of our guests are focused on our various winter activities, it’s always a pleasure to see conversations arise from the multitude of animals in the Barrick-Falwell Lodge.
A Small Recap
As mentioned in the previous Tales from the Lodge blog, Dr. Barrick was a supporter of Liberty’s mission from the beginning and was a good friend of Dr. Falwell. Dr. Barrick has three children who went on to become LU Alumni, which speaks to the Barrick family’s support of LU. He served in the Air Force as a dentist for 7 years, before running his own private practice for 26 years. Dr. Barrick has spent time on both sides of the United States, being stationed in Maine for 2 years before transferring over to Alaska. Dr. Barrick has a passion for hunting, and he generously donated a large portion of his collection to be displayed in the Lodge.
In the previous Tales from the Lodge post, I had the pleasure of recounting the story of the Standing Grizz that is displayed in the Lodge, a fascinating story in which Dr. Barrick bested one of the most fearsome creatures in the world. Thankfully, his abilities were able to keep him alive as he faced danger and death head on. But like I mentioned before, this is only one of his legendary tales…
The Polar Bear
One of the animals that brings about the most discussion in the Lodge is the fearsome polar bear. Children and adults alike are amazed that we display a creature that they will probably never see in the wild. Dr. Barrick has taken down two polar bears in his lifetime, and the second one now calls the Snowflex Lodge home. It is quite the process to hunt a polar bear, which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. They live in some of the most remote places on the planet and do a lot of their hunting around holes in the ice, where seals come up to breathe.
This was a relatively standard hunt (as polar bear hunts go). This story takes place in Alaska, beginning when Dr. Barrick and two Alaskan native guides flew over the polar ice cap to look for polar bear tracks in the snow. When tracks were spotted from the plane, they landed and proceed to track the bear on foot.
They came up on the bear near a feeding area, but the bear turned towards the group as they approached. The monstrous creature began to approach, but Dr. Barrick took two shots to take the bear down before it could even make a move. As Dr. Barrick put it, you must be extremely cautious when hunting for an animal that has never seen a human before. “They would just as soon eat you as a seal, which is the primary food of the polar bear”. After the hunt, the group returned to a nearby village to have a feast of polar bear meat. The meat tastes similar to pork, according to Dr. Barrick, and we are just going to have to take his word for it (I hear polar bear meat is pretty rare in Virginia). While to many this would be a once in a lifetime experience, Dr. Barrick has plenty of these adventures.
The polar bear is one of the most fascinating animals in the Lodge, and it was a pleasure to hear this story from Dr. Barrick himself. Not only is Dr. Barrick an excellent storyteller, but his life is an incentive for all of us to take a step toward our adventurous side!