A Nine-Bear Day

Oliver is coming on the boat to pick us up sometime today.  Yesterday he told us he’d be by around 1:00, but that’s low tide so we all know he will be late.  It’s Alaska Time and the schedule is just sort of a suggestion, subject to change.

This morning Rob and I walked along the near shore of the creek, past salmon carcasses and bear prints into a wide meadow.  The creek is much shallower and slower here, more of a babbling brook? We saw an eagle perched low along the shore.  The quiet is that all-encompassing, peaceful, not-a-care-in-the-world kind of quiet.  We lingered a bit and then turned back.  As we got to the confluence of the creeks, we saw a sow with two spring cubs appear out of the grass on the opposite shore up the side creek.  camp-7One cub mimicked everything the sow did.  He looked where she looked, he stopped when she stopped, he sniffed when she sniffed.  The other cub lolled behind, a bit distracted by everything but keeping up nonetheless.  They seem to have personalities just like a family of children.  They were across a wide creek and up a bit from us, but still I was concerned. After all, the sow with cubs is the one they warn you about.  Then we saw her point her nose up in our direction and smell the air.  She knew we were here and she didn’t care. I relaxed. They moved on around the bend toward camp.  We saw the fishermen, Ted and Chase, stop to watch her.  Matt, our guide, stepped out to the shore make sure all was well.  Just then, a large boar then rounded the bend from behind us coming out of the meadow we just visited.  He was across the creek from us, and because we were at the confluence, also across the creek from the sow.  camp-9He was a big bear!  He didn’t seem to take notice of us or the other bears and continued his focused course up the other creek and deeper into the wilderness.  The sow got wind of him and stood up on her hind legs to better assess the situation.  Taking no chances, she hurried her cubs out of there, disappearing in the opposite direction.camp-8camp-17camp-18

Later that day while we were at camp, three adult bears appeared toward the back of the meadow across the creek.  All 5 of us watched them from camp.  When they got scent of us, one of them stood up on her hind legs to get a better look, again assessing the situation.  She didn’t seem to know what to make of us.  She huffed with a deep expulsion of air, as if to shoo us.  No one moved. Then all three bears quickly ran off.  This was my first encounter with bears that aren’t habituated to people.  Quite a different experience (no photos)!

Along with Camp Bear, this other young bear hung around a little bit today making this a nine bear day!



2 Replies to “A Nine-Bear Day”

  1. What a GREAT pix of the sow (Mama) bear standing up to check things out and then hurry the cubs off to safety. Had to laugh at 1 ‘kid’ (the good kid) following and mimicking everything Mama Bear was teaching, while the ‘other kid’ (remaining nameless – which one in your family?? Hmmmm….) was just checking out the environment with only an eye on Mama Bear and her lessons.

    You sure saw a LOT of bears and in their natural habitat! I was wondering about that peaceful kind of quiet you mention at first … still sounds of nature or almost completely still and truly silent?

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you like the pictures.
      There weren’t any insect or bird sounds midday, so aside from the occasional quiet sounds of the creek it was silent and expansive.

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