At the lodge in Lake Clark, our assigned guide was at our disposal. Want to go out before breakfast at 6am? Want to go out after lunch? Want to go on a hike? He’ll take you. I’m not sure when he sleeps or showers. Maybe in the winter?
Our only guidelines were that we were supposed to be at the lodge for meals at 8am, noon and 7pm and off park property by 10pm. Since Wednesday was forecast to be rainy all day, it seemed better to stay in bed and catch up on sleep than to go out in the weather before breakfast.
After a family-style breakfast we headed out to the beach at low tide. We quickly found the sow with three cubs digging clams and fisherman’s by-catch from the day before. (The fisherman throw back the fish that they’ve netted but weren’t fishing for. These fish are often killed in the process and wash up near shore).
The driving rain necessitated that we could only take pictures facing south, lest the camera lens get soaked. We approached very close to the bears at the surf’s edge. Once again, they paid no attention to us.
Some day trippers came in up the beach and kept the requisite distance from the bears. The sow passed this group of people while her cubs remained back by us, thereby putting the people between her and her cubs! That’s normally the worst situation to be in if there’s a sow around. But the normal rules don’t apply here.
After an hour or so watching this family, an adult bear came running in to get her share of the washed up fish, shooing the family off. We watched her for a while until it was time to go in for lunch and dry off.
I didn’t take very many pictures. I thought it was too dark to get any images worth sharing, the rain, rain gear and rain covers complicated the process. And there were too many people around who could be more aware of their surroundings and considerate of others. However, these ended up being some of my favorite images of the trip! My new camera, that was marketed as being able to take images in low light, really worked out well. My old camera couldn’t have handled the low light and motion. Technology is something else!
The high tide was mid-late afternoon during our stay. During these high tides we couldn’t cross the slough so were are confined to the one side. Most of the bear activity we saw while we were there was on the other side of the slough on the beach. This, combined with the afternoon typically being a time of less bear activity, led me to take another opportunity to catch up on my sleep and dry out my new raincoat. (This purchase did not live up to its marketing like my camera did. It said “water-repellent finish sheds water like a duck”. Yah, a dead duck. I got wet and I returned the coat!). After dinner, more bear watching on the beach in more comfortable damp weather.