Hold on to your bonnets and bloomers! This is the first, long-awaited post about our trip to Katmai National Park to see the famed brown bears! I have teased you long enough. Now I am starting to even get pestered by my (normally) sweet hubby to hurry up and start this series. All right, all right! It is time to roll out the photos and tell the tales of this wondrous adventure of a lifetime.
You may have a vague recollection of some National Geographic or nature television shows that feature brown bears standing on the top of the waterfall, and the salmon are jumping into their waiting mouths. Despair, Inc., even features ones of these iconic images on their outrageously popular “ambition” poster.
We ventured thousands of miles this past summer to that tiny, exact spot on this big earth. It is located at a place called Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park. Undoubtedly, our time spent here was the highlight of our Alaska trip experience. I captured a multitude of photos that will help provide me a lifetime of memories. And I now have a deeper appreciation for the word “incredible.”
So where is this isolated spot on the globe? Katmai is located several hundred miles southwest of Anchorage. This is the remote bush country of Alaska, so it is not an easy place to get to. In terms of visitation, it is rated in the bottom ten of the National Parks. But the time, trouble, and expense are so worth it if you have a passion to see extraordinary wildlife such as brown bears!
We first flew from Anchorage to King Salmon. Then we transferred over to an air taxi for the final leg of our trip to Brooks Camp. A drizzle of rain had already started to fall, the wind was whipping up, and the air was filled with mosquitoes. But there was no turning back now.
Yes, the air taxi is a floatplane! Our tour group got split up into two flights. Eight us (including the pilot) squeezed ourselves into the little aircraft, along with our duffel bags and camera gear. Hubby tells me that it was a DeHavilland Beaver, a favorite of Alaska bush pilots. He got to sit up next to the pilot and enjoy the view out of the front window. I’m sure that it brought back many fond memories of the youthful years he lived, hunted, and fished in the wild countryside of our 49th state.
We didn’t fly very high in elevation, so we could easily see the marshes and lakes that finger-painted the terrain. After a smooth landing on beautiful Naknek Lake, the floatplane coasted up to the beach.
At this point, we were all wired up with anticipation for our brown bear photo expedition to begin. A couple of young men got the aircraft secured and opened the doors. Just as we were about to embark, we were quickly told to stay put. There was a husky bear coming toward us on the beach. It was the head of the welcoming committee, LOL! After watching this furry fellow run into the water and dive around for fish a few minutes, he finally ambled along in back of the plane and went on his merry way. As he strode past, I popped out of my seat and took this photo from the plane’s open door. Our bear adventure was underway!