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Adrift for hours on Lake Superior ice floe, bear finally floats to safety

Black bear adrift

A black bear took quite a ride all day Easter Sunday on an ice floe in Lake Superior near Bayfield. In this photo, the bear is approaching Bayfield with the Madeline Island ferry Island Queen in the background. Photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson took the photo about 5:30 p.m.

The bear was first seen by ferry staff at 7:45 a.m. near Madeline Island. It rode an ice floe in the direction of Basswood Island, Hudson said, then eventually drifted back to Bayfield, a distance of perhaps five miles. Currents and wind affect ice movement.

"It saw that it was going to be able to get to land and made a break for it," Hudson said.

It climbed up a breakwall and collapsed, where it proceeded to take a long nap, she said.

Nobody knows where it went after that, Hudson said.