Published: July 23rd 2012July 23rd 2012
July 21st: All flights on time...weather seemed great until we arrived in Anchorage to rain, rain, rain! We were excited to get somewhere and see something, but then the dreaded jetlag set in......well, at least for Dana. Dylin was set on swimming in the indoor pool, although it was 50 degrees outside and our bodies thought it was 4 hours later than the clock in Anchorage! Our hotel is great, Embassy Suites. Thank God they have an onsite restaurant or I would have died of starvation. Dylin got her swim time but I was in bed by 8:30pm Anchorage time (12:30 est).
We called Regal Air to check the status of our Bear Charter tomorrow and they said we were still tentative due to the low ceiling/rain in the area. Oh, no, they can't cancel the flight to Silver Salmon Creek in Lake Clark National Park.....I have to see the bears!!!
July 22nd: Well, we woke to very heavily clouded skies and a light drizzle. Since it was 5 a.m. and we were wide awake, I decided to wait to call Regal Air. We decided to get ready and called around 7a.m. They said "come on over
here and we'll see".....well, 45 minutes later as we're heading out the door, they said "we will call you when we think we can fly".....YIKES...So sad, freaking out, we really want to get to Silver Salmon Creek! We set out for downtown and receive a call to come straight to the air strip. Long story short, we were able to fly out, although a couple hours late, and we made it safely to Silver Salmon Creek. It was a white knuckle flight in which I had to play co-pilot..ha, ha, but we made it despite the white outs and "visual flight rules".
Upon arrival, we landed on the beach at Silver Salmon Creek. That, in itself, was quite an experience. As soon as we looked toward the water, which was at low tide, we could see a sprinkle of brown bears! We were greeted by our guide in an ATV with an attached passenger trailer. We started toward the lodge but didn't get far due to a big, lazy boar brown bear blocking our path. It wasn't much of an imposition as we marveled in our good fortune! After watching him for a while we "booted up" for the
real adventure.....walking out on the mud flats to watch the bears hunt for clams. This was an absolutely surreal experience. We parked the ATV on the beach and walked out to the clam digging bears. We were surrounded by them but they were totally unphased by us.
We learned a lot as we watched the sows, females, dig for clams. We learned the males don't dig for clams...they are TOOO Lazy! They lay around up in the sedges and eat up to 40 pounds of grass a day. Of course, this is when the salmon aren't in the creek. We were a little early for the salmon run so the women dig for clams while the guys eat grass. We watched several sows for a couple hours and got within 15 feet of them. The bears in this area are "habituated". This means they are used to seeing humans and don't feel threatened or perceive humans as a source of food. This group of Alaskan Coastal Brown Bears have lived in this area for generations and the handful of land owners that inhabit this area protect and respect their environment.
Enjoy the pictures...oh, it's 10p.m here and still
There are more photos below