Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rollover Beartoven, adventures in Katmai National Park and beyond

I am not one of those who is usually at a loss for words, however this week I got to experience something that truly put me at a loss for words. I took a couple of extra days off from work to travel to the more western side of the Kenai Peninsula visiting Homer and Seldovia. I was extremely lucky to be able to get to go on something that everyone who travels to Alaska should experience, a flight adventure over to Katmai National Park to see the Great Alaskan Brown Bears. In other places they are known as Grizzly Bears or even Kodiak Bears and here in these part they are simply called Alaskan Brown Bears. Katmai has one of the highest concentrations of Brown Bears in the state, and during the last couple of months of summer they are busy fishing for the salmon running in the rivers. I was ever so grateful for securing a nice discount on this adventure as these trips can be quite costly. After the day was over I understood why. The amazing skill of the pilot landing on a long narrow Beach in a remote part of Katmai beside the Halo Glacier was a feat in itself. The outfitter known as Alaska Bear Adventures and K-Bay air fitted us with waders so we could cross the river safely and free of getting soaked for our adventure. Flying over the Alaskan Maritime Wildlife Refuge and over the Volcanoes they refer to as the Ring of Fire was amazing. The views breathtaking everywhere you looked from high mountains to braided rivers over Kodiak Island, Mt. Illiama, St.Augustine and Mt. Redoubt we made our way to the Northern Coast of Katmai National Park. I was overwhelmed by the beauty and as soon as we started to descend to the beach I could see the Bears and immediately overtaken with emotion. Wow it was unreal. We circled a few times as he manoeuvred the landing gear and then safely landed on the beach. We didn't have to walk too far to cross the river to where several Bears were fishing. Mike, the guide and Naturalist knows these Bears well as he has been doing this for a very long time. He understands their behavior and we were all very respectful as the 10 of us on the trip huddled close together on a log and sat and watched these bears only a few feet away fishing. I have had many fun adventures, yet this experience was in my heart and soul as one of the most incredible adventures I have ever had. I couldn't believe we were in this wildly primitive and beautiful place watching Bears in there natural habitat living their daily lives. What a gift and I feel truly blessed. All together we spent around 3.5 hours observing them, feeding, splashing, playing, resting, sleeping and a few bouts of aggression between alphas and young ones, yet this felt so real and so raw, why would anyone call Reality Shows today reality when they are not. Nature is reality and this was truly magical. I will long remember this experience. As the day began drawing to a close we observed an older cub that the crew call Stix whose Mom they call Melissa. Poor little Stix I guess had been messing around with a Porcupine and got a quill in his paw and was struggling to set himself free of that quill. Watching him limp and try to keep up with Mom on three legs was heart breaking to watch, yet this is nature. Mike the guide told us that the quill would work it's way out, so hopefully Stix will be free of that pain in his foot soon. We left the park and I was filled with joy and love for all this raw beauty. As we ascended over the snow capped glaciers and river valley's I felt such a sense of peace truly a magical day that captured my heart and spirit.

All Photos I took and are soley the property of Dawna Raven Sky 2010.

Stay tune for blog part 2 when I share my day in Seldovia, a Historic Alaskan Village untouched by modern things.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Dawna - Amazing trip! What would you have done if one of the bears turned aggressive toward one of you?