Friday, October 4, 2013

Bear Viewing

Dayton and Abigail got a chance to go with Paul on a bear viewing flight.  There was an extra seat so I got to go along too :)   We went to Brooks Range in the Katmi National Park.   Glenn Jr. and Carlin who fly for The Farm Lodge in Port Alsworth (and who Abigail worked for last fall) each took a load and  Paul flew us in the Cessna 180.  We couldn't take our plane because there isn't a runway there so you have to be on floats.  
We flew to Port Alsworth to in our plane and then got in the float plane.

Below, Paul tied up our plane to the nearest tree as we lined up beside the many other planes there to see the bears.

I was walking on a boardwalk that was about 12 feet above the ground out to the first bear viewing platform and this huge bear in the picture below walked right under me and stood up to scratch his back.  Based on the bark gone off the tree, it must be his favorite tree.  It was amazing, I could have reached out and touched him!

The bear in the picture above and below was the Grandpa of the group.  He was huge and he didn't move from his spot the hour and a half we watched him.  He just stood there and grabbed the fish as they came to him.
The bear at the top of the falls caught his fish in mid air.

The two cubs above were walking along the river ahead of their mother.  There were three of them and as we watched another bear made a rush for them and almost caught them before they scampered up the tree in the picture below.  Mom came and stood below them for about a half an hour then they all came down, Mom caught a fish within just a few minutes, and they carried it off into the woods to eat it in peace.  They actually carried it to a spot under the boardwalk that we walked in on.  Our turn on the viewing platform was over as they carried off their fish.  So, we got to follow them and watch as the three cubs fought over the fish and ate it while the mother stood guard.

Paul and I

Dayton and Abigail in the gift shop.
As you step out of your float plane, volcanic pumice rocks float all around you.  They got there when the Mount Katmai volcano exploded in 1912.  After we left the bear viewing area, we flew to Novarupta, a volcano that was formed when Mount Katmai erupted.  It the picture below you can see volcanic ash that forms the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.  The ash is 600 feet deep from the VEI 6 eruption.
The cliffs surrounding the valley are beautiful green and purple.
Lake Iliamna is the largest lake in Alaska.  As we flew over it on the way home, Paul pointed out an island to us that he says often has seals sun bathing on it.  The seals are able to move between the salt water of Bristol Bay and the fresh water in Lake Iliamna.

1 comment:

John said...

Hey guys, great photos. I have never been to Katmai, maybe someday. Nice beard Paul.