Matt caught a silver (Coho) salmon and cooked it up for lunch on our first day. That’s the freshest salmon I’ve ever had! As we were eating by the fire, a sub-adult bear poked her head into the kitchen and we had to shoo her away! She earned herself the name “Camp Bear” as she made regular visits to the creek and occasionally checked on the progress of the fishermen. She shooed very easily and never came back to camp – as far as we knew. Matt would put tarps down on the trail leading through camp every night when we retired to deter the bears. They don’t like to walk on it.
Ted and his son, Chase, were at the camp with us. They came to fish in celebration of Chase’s 21st birthday. They caught a lot of fish! Chase remarked that he’d never been physically tired from catching fish before. Rob fished in between tending the camp fire (he’s building his resume for a summer Alaska job) and wildlife watching.
Besides Camp Bear who came around more regularly, most of our bear viewing at camp was in the late afternoon and evening. During the day we watching a bald eagle’s nest at the mouth of the creek with two eaglets. One had fledged and the other was exercising its wings getting ready to leave the nest. The adult eagles were around a lot, too.
A cluster of crossbills spent a lot of time in the trees right next to our fire. This is a new bird for me. We had both red crossbills and white-winged crossbills every day.
There was a great, rocky beach that was fun to explore at low tide. There were shells and driftwood and things brought in by the tides. A pair of harlequin ducks and a family of mergansers spent a lot of time at the bend in the creek.
Right on cue, just after dinner, a bear or two would show up. Despite the abundance of fish in the creek, none of the Bears fished.
On our second day, Rob and I put on a pair of hip waders, grabbed a can of bear spray and headed across the creek to explore a meadow and whatever we might find. We walked up a fork in the creek, noisily to avoid surprises. There were bear tracks everywhere!
We saw a few bear beds – depressions in the shady grasses- and a lot of trails. One trail was narrow, like a moose or wolf trail, but there were no tracks in the grassy ground to be found. We started to follow a branch of the creek through a narrowing toward another enclosed meadow. There were wolf tracks in the mud along this creek! I wasn’t comfortable continuing on in that direction. It’s one thing to be in a bear-dense area with a guide who knows the area and can really read nature well, and a whole other situation to be a hobbyist out on a hike! We turned back toward the main creek and followed it out to the mouth of the creek to get a better look at the eagles nest. We only saw one bear on our hike, it was on the other side of the meadow from us – a comfortable distance – and she was running parallel to our direction. However, she was coming from a spot we had just walked through. Was she bedded down there when we passed or was she just coming through now???
We had fresh-caught halibut for dinner the first night. It was caught up at the lodge and brought down for Matt to cook up for us. They also brought us some beer and brownies. What a treat!