Journal/Blog‎ > ‎2012‎ > ‎

Bars . . . Bars . . . Ev'rywar!

posted Jul 4, 2012, 4:01 PM by Michael Schwarz   [ updated Jul 10, 2016, 1:15 AM ]

Sunday- July 1st  at 9:15am

Michael and I, along with 5 other passengers and the pilot board this 1951 DeHaviland Otter float plane and are about to take off for a day of bear viewing.  We will fly southwest from Homer for 120 miles through the Shelikof Strait to the Katmai National Park & Preserve on the Alaskan Peninsula. 

The flight was smooth as could be.  The day was cloudy but no wind and no rain.  Life is good.


We passed several active volcanoes on the flight.  This is either Mt. Iliamna or Mt. Douglas





You can't go far in Alaska without seeing a glacier or two, or three!  The color of the water is so blue.




Glacier


We will be landing on a lagoon about a mile from here.  We'll hike here for bear viewing.

This is a picture of the bogs and streams and meadows below as we descend.  Isn't it cool looking?

Our sister plane as she gets ready to land.


They fit everyone with waders.  I might have to get me a pair.  Yo Ho Ho

A rare sighting of a white wolf.  Michael got this picture right before the wolf ran off.  Excellent job Michael.
Ahhh.  Bear prints.  We're getting close.

The first sighting!  A little information about bears.  There are only 3 kinds of bears; black, brown and polar bears.  Grizzlies and Kodiaks are brown bears.  I didn't know that.


We found a grassy spot in front of a small hill and sat quietly on the ground or fallen logs to let the bears get used to us.  It didn't take long before several came into sight.  They didn't even care that we were there.

When bears come out of hibernation from the winter they don't start eating right away.  During hibernation they form an intestinal plug that keeps them from urinating and defecating.  It takes a few weeks for that plug to pass once they wake up.


Once they start , eating becomes their main focus (Remember that fact.  It becomes much more important later in the day).  1st is the early spring berries, then the tender summer grasses near the rivers and streams.  Then it will be fish, once the salmon start upstream, usually in early July.


She just spied another bear coming up the bank.



   







Not all the bears are this good looking.  He's nice and fluffy!

Aw shucks!!



Sometimes they got pretty close. 



This male tried all day to get any female bear to stick around, but no luck.

Hey, How you doin.

The closest any bear passed to us was 30 feet!!!! That is CLOSE.  we all held our breath waiting for him to go by.




Okay.  Time for a break.  Where's the bathroom please?  Over the hill to the nearest bush you say.    I hike up and over the little hill and look for a good spot.  The grass is pretty tall-about butt high.  I'm doing my business as fast as I can when I look up and see a bear lift his head from eating at the same time!!!!!! I didn't see him when I scoped out my spot because the grass is pretty high and he had his head down.   He's about 50 feet away (which sounds a lot farther than it is).  He looks at me and I look at him - and he goes back to eating.  I am happy that I am wearing those rubber boots.  

I didn't have my camera with me when I went to find a bush but this is the bear I came face to face with.  he ventured out to the meadow shortly afterwards.


Hey, don't I know you???

Other than eating another activity was frequent napping.


Is that Miss January from the sexy bear calendar????  I think it is!


Can't quite scratch that one spot in the middle.....


Ahhhhh





















After about 4 hours of watching the bears we hiked back to the planes.



The sun was out on the way back.  The water in this alpine lake really is this color.

Since the clouds had lifted the pilot was able to fly directly over one of the glaciers so we could get a really good look.





What a fabulous day!!!!!!!!!!

Cocktails await . . .
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