Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Memorable Journey - Doug's Turn

[This is a guest post - in both senses - by Doug who gets a chance to get his two cents in on the blog.] Denali was a scenic wonder. The mountains and tundra were the stars. It was great to see the wildlife, especially the bears, but they were along way away,even through a 400mm lens. There had to be somewhere I could get closer. There was. Brooks Falls, in Katmai National Park, is known for attracting bears to catch the huge numbers of salmon making their way upstream to spawn. It was the tail-end of the season, but probably my best chance of seeing grizzlies at close quarters.

Joan generously offered to drive me to the airport at an unearthly hour and before 8.00 I and several other tourists flying southwest towards the hamlet of King Salmon. Here a shuttlebus took us to the lake where a DH Sea Otter .took us on the final leg of the journey to the camp.
After the obligatory talk about how to stay safe around bears, we were allowed to go off to the
viewing platforms.

There were half a dozen brown bears at the falls, all concentrating intently on securing the elusive salmon, with varying degrees of success, and totally oblivious to the humans madly clicking cameras a few dozen yards away. The size and power of these powerful creatures was truly impressive. Over the next few hours I snapped and filmed happily in between long sessions observing the bears' dexterity in lifting their meal from the fast-flowing water, and respecting their patience during long periods when success eluded them.
The experience was one I wouldn't have missed.
I'm grateful to Joan for persuading me that I should go, and even more to both she and Steve for showing me so much of the amazing environment that is Alaska.Their enthusiasm has been as great as their hospitality, and they have facilitated experiences which will stay in my memory long after I return home.


  1. Doug,

    What a thrill! My wife and I have lived in Alaska for 35 years, and Brooks Falls is one of the places we know we have to go to, but haven't been able to visit yet.

    And all the other things you and Steve's family have been able to do - in spite of the, uh, weather.

  2. It's great to hear your voice after having heard so much about you, Doug!

    You have had more of an Alaksan experience than most people, I think, and you are smarter than most Alaskans when it comes to wild animals.

    I hope you come up again-- Steve always has EXCELLENT blog posts, but the ones he's posted since you have been here have been some of the very best. I can tellthat you take life by the horns and just go for it in every aspect!

  3. Lilian-n-Mike say...What an experience Doug, great video clip of the bear eating salmon, couldn't get better. Alaska looks really wild. The sloths here in Panama are so slow the Harpy Eagle can pick them off the trees.You must come see them too.


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