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

Black bear approaches Bayfield around 5:30 p.m. April 12, with the Madeline Island ferry Island Queen in the background. Photo by Hannah Stonehouse Hudson

A black bear took quite a ride all day Easter Sunday on an ice floe in Lake Superior near Bayfield.

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.