Published: July 28th 2012July 27th 2012
DAY 30: FRIDAY, JULY 27: Well, today's blog is going to be a blog where the pictures do most all the talking and I'll try to do less, because the pictures will hopefully say more about the MOST AMAZING...ONCE IN A LIFETIME kind of day we had today. It started out as usual, a quiet morning, took Abby for a walk on the beach, saw too many jellyfish to count stranded by the tide, watched a bald eagle, from as close as I have yet to get, eating a fish all while Aaron went to town to try to get a flight to Katmai National Park to view some amazing bears. Now Katmai is actually an island and it's known for its brown bear population and this is one of those...I really want to do kind of things while I am in Homer...but it can be crazy expensive. After an hour or so Aaron can back to get us and we all went to town to get some water and check on a couple more flights. Well, we just happened to see a sign about stand by flights that were half the cost of the regular ones and they had 5
This bear came ten feet away. She is so beautiful and hardly looks real. I think she really looks like a giant teddy bear! Remember this is not zoomed in. We almost could reach out and touch this beauty!
seats left for a flight that left at 1:45. Amazing as our luck has been we got on it, so we had only about an hour to quick get ready. Once we got to the hanger we found out they take three small 6 seater planes with three groups of people and you fly 140 miles to Hallo Bay on Katmai. Once there you get three guided hours on the ground with the bears. Brett was thrilled because he got to be co-pilot...let me tell you, this is Hanna and Brett's first time EVER flying in an airplane. What a way to start! Now the sights on the way there were breathtaking and I am afraid the pictures won't do it justice. We got awesome views of all the volcanos and you could see the Kodiak Islands. Once we got close to Katmai we flew right over Mt. Douglas Volcano and the pilot circled the top where you could see right in the caldera on the top. This area was covered with giant, and I mean GIANT glaciers and from our vantage point you could see all the ice blue cracks in them and where they are slowing inching there
Another cool thing was there were bear tracks EVERYWHERE! They all were huge, but this one on our way out was by far the monster of the day!
way to the water. Unbelievable! Then we got over Hallo Bay and Hallo Bay Glacier and right there on the beach, where we landed, you could see bears, everywhere, OMG it was thrilling. We got out and went through our brief bear safety lesson...it went something like this. Always stay together, never make fast moves, we always need to look like one big group, if you venture off you look small and the bears may come investigate you, if we all stay together and look big they will ignore us, we will only get so close to the bears, but the bears WILL come closer to us, we will calmly tell them that is close enough and they usually listen. You really start to wonder what you're doing at this point and then you don't care and just start walking out in the bush to find them. It wasn't hard, within 5 minutes we walked RIGHT past one sleeping on the river. Once close it picked its head up and eye-balled us and then went back to sleeping. We made it to a small meadow and there were two bears grazing there. We sat down and just watched them and
ate some lunch...they warn you not to bring any fish, tuna fish etc because that will attract the bears. Well, from the picture you will see a huge, fat, tan female bear started wandering towards us and it was scary at first, two rangers even needed to stand up with hands on their flares and warn her several times by saying things like, "That's close enough. Too close.". And the crazy thing is the bear listened. I am not lying when I say this bear walked to only 10 feet in front of us...you could hear her ripping and tearing and chewing the grass. I did not zoom in on these pictures. She stayed there for a good ten minutes while we sat amazed and took pictures. None of us could believe it and after the initial shock that this bear is walking right straight towards you, you are suddenly not afraid at all. It was so incredible! Well, that was just the beginning of the amazing three hours we spent there walking all through the bay. We were so lucky that the weather was perfect and we were able to get so close to at least 6-7 different bears,
This bear took a bath in the water and then just walked on by to go eat some grass.
at one point we were surrounded by 6 bears and we even got to see an amazing gray wolf keeping guard of her den. All total we probably saw at least 15 bears. One big female stopped in the river and was looking for salmon, a couple times it looked like she had found one because she ran and jumped around, but nothing. The salmon are a bit late this year, but should arrive soon. I cant imagine what it would be like to see that sight...all the bears down there fishing...Wow! The last bear we warched swam into the river and proceeded to take a bath right in front of us. He sat there scrathing and laying in the water and then he walked out, stopped from some close-up pictures and continued on right past us in the grass. We had the most amazing guide who had been doing this for many years, so he was very knowledgeable and made the trip really fun. We walked back to beach and began our flight home all in awe of what we had just seen. On the way back we saw whales WAY down in the ocean through binoculars and then
we went into town and ate halibut at Captain Pattie's, built a campfire, had smores and had two bald eagles circling right over head. WOW, WHAT A DAY!!!!!!
Total Mileage: 280 air miles
Wildlife Report: need I say more
Funny: When we were at dinner, Aaron got up and took a picture, well, a guy next to us came over and asked if we wanted a family pic. Sure...so he takes Aaron's phone, just then his phone rings and he answers it and then he asks us, "Where are we? Crabbie Pattie's?". Remember, it was Captain Pattie's. It was so funny, might of had to been there funny, but we all laughed and this guy never got it. So Aaron asked him if he was a SpongeBob fan. He never got that either. He was definitely a little off, but he gave us our funny of the day!
Not-so-funny: When we were all decided what to do about this bear trip, Aaron had given us two options...fly in on a guided tour like we did, or just hire a pilot and get dropped off on the beach and walk around to see the bears on our
own. After getting so close to the bears the thought of going out there on our own and unguided is insane!
There are more photos below