KATMAI National Park
The highest concentration of Brown Bears per mile anywhere in the world!
On our next to last day,
Jackie and I took a plane to
Katmai National Park to
spend 24 hours walking with
the brown bears.  To get to
the bears, we took a plane.
Poor Jackie. As the plane
took off and the water
sprayed up around the
window, she thought the
plane was sinking.
We took a backward look at Raspberry Island. That
was easy since our two seats in this six seat plane
faced backwards. Then we looked downward at the
whales.
Looking backward towards the front of the plane, we got our first glimpse of Katmai National Park which lies straight north of
Kodiak and Raspberry Islands on the mainland of Alaska.
Our quarters for the next 24 hours would
be a luxury yacht. We would share this
boat with a couple from Bellingham and a
staff of three people.

Within minutes of our arrival, Lee piloted
the yacht for five minutes across the bay
where we boarded an inflatable which took
us to shore to walk among the Brown
Bears.

Brown bears and grizzlies are all the
same, but for Alaskans there is a
difference.
Brown bears live on the
coast. Since they feed on salmon, they
are much bigger than the grizzlies in the
interior who have a much more vegetarian
diet--no salmon.
When we arrived at the beach, Lee instructed us that we were not to talk anymore--just whisper. We climbed up on to the
grass and then crawled across to the other side where we had a terrific view of the beach.
From our view point, we looked out at
three bears. Two of the bears were a
male and a sow. This is the horny time
of the year for brown bears. The sow
was disinterested and would
occasionally run from the male. In turn,
he would run after her and then both
would graze on the grass again.

We were all so engaged in watching the
three bears in front of us that we failed
to see a brown bear materializes to our
right and somewhat behind us.
Fortunately, Lee was
alert to the situation
and pointed out the
bear which was only
a long stones throw
from us. He pulled
out his bear spray as
a precaution. (No
guns are allowed in
the park.) Then Lee
told us to back up as
the bear was headed
our direction.
As the bear got closer, Lee identified it as a young male bear. Instead of coming our way, the bear turned and walked into the
water.
In the water the bear paused for a bodily function.
(This picture is for the benefit of my soon to be
Vice Principal daughter and her elementary
school children from her father who has never
grown up.
On the other side, the bear grazed
some more as we continued our four
hour intimate encounter with the brown
bears.