We're voting for the fattest bear at Katmai National Park and Preserve. (Fortunately we don't qualify, either in weight, or species.)
|From Katmai Natl Park & Preserve Facebook page|
We visited Katmai, and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in 2012, so this is a Friday Flashback to that excursion. We were "acquainted" with bear 747 then, and it's good to see him doing so well. He was an alpha bear then, and apparently still is. -Bearcam at the Brooks Falls-
It's very difficult to get reservations for the park, they open online booking in January, and we know from experience, you'd better be ready to click the enter button on the day, at 12:01am in order to get in. We originally wanted a cabin, (just beds, and a quasi-bathroom), but discovered those were already spoken for, so we opted for the campground. It has a "bear deterrent" electric fence around it.
I didn't understand why we couldn't set up camp in one of the inner circle sites, "do we have to be next to the fence, couldn't we let someone else be first for a curious/hungry bear?"
|Bill finishing setting up our Trango 3 tent. [A favorite among those who climb Denali...]|
He's wearing a Original Bug Shirt to protect from the mosquitoes. [It works! Get these on Amazon...]
I was inside the tent unrolling sleeping gear, and I heard Bill inviting someone into our campsite to get a better look. I poked my head out, and there was a bear sleeping just on the other side of the fence. Yikes! My first bear sighting, and too close!
|Looking out on Naknek Lake.|
The campground is equipped with a centralized building for food storage, cooking, and clean restrooms. We opted not to bring any cooking supplies, (except a few handy snacks), and choose instead, to eat all of our meals in the lodge. The food is excellent, and has one of the best salad bars we've ever seen. After all, we were there to see bears, not spend time with cooking, and cleaning. No one is allowed to have ANY food, or drink, except water, outside of the designated cook building or the lodge. (For obvious reasons....)
|Protected picnic area.|
|Boardwalk to fall's platform|
|Bear asleep under the deck|
|Asleep until another bear walked by.|
We have so many bear pictures, it's hard to choose which ones to post.
|Sitting by the fall's platform|
|Watching intently for a fish to jump|
|"This is MY fishing hole!"|
I'm pretty sure that in the previous photo, the bear facing you is of 747. Most of the time he had the prime spot in the river, and all he had to do, was look at another bear to say, "get outta here", and the other bear would skedaddle.
The park ranger at the platform, said that these two bears had an uneasy truce most of the time. They had done DNA testing, and these two had the same mother, different fathers, born different years, and their hypothesis, was that somehow the bears recognized it.
|This guy had been in a fight, and lived to tell the tale.|
|Emergency exit? What emergency would make me run out into a brown bear?|
Look at this cute little bear, she's 3 years old, I love those fuzzy ears, and dark paws.
|Cute little bear.|
This is the bear with the gashed shoulder, it didn't hurt his fishing abilities.
We visited the last week of June, first week of July, right before the major tourist season. The crowds hadn't arrived yet, so we didn't have competition for the prime viewing spots. We had time to talk to the rangers, and the staff, and enjoyed the local knowledge. Once everyone found out we were Alaskans, locals, the conversations were relaxed. We took a day out of bear watching to ride the bus to the "Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes", but that is a tale for another day.
|Valley of hardened lava.|
In case you got to vote, or want to know, whether 747 or 409 Beadnose won the competition, ..... drumroll please...
The winner is 409 Beadnose! Read about it here.
As always, we enjoy hearing from you, either here in comments or on our Facebook Denali Rose Sailboat page.