We left off the last post with this mama bear and cub walking along the far bank of the river mouth. They steadily came closer and I was thrilled.
I love the way that the cub mimics its mother stride for stride in this photo. They kept coming closer.
Then they entered the water and the park ranger with us started warning us to get ready to move. I completely ignored him.
The mama bear kept dipping her head underwater, searching for salmon. The cub dutifully followed.
At this point the ranger started ordering us to retreat. I was so intent on getting photos that his words were merely annoying, like a mosquito buzzing in my ear.
At this point the ranger was nearly apoplectic. I told him to relax but moved back anyway. He led us all the way back into the trees where we could no longer see the bears. I thought that it was an even more dangerous situation because we could not see where the bears were, but I did not waste my breath arguing with him. The bears were not concerned with us at all.
All too soon it was time for us to leave. On the way back we passed by another active volcano, Mt. Augustine. It forms its own island.
I had bears and salmon on my mind as we flew along the coast of Cook Inlet. We were too high up to see bears but I imagined that this stream was full of salmon, with many big bears catching them.
Another large green meadow that must be prime habitat for Brown Bears. There were no roads to be seen anywhere.
Eventually we crossed Cook Inlet and passed by the mouth of the Kenai River. You can easily see all the cars in this photo, but look closely, there were thousands of people standing in the water. These are dip netters. The Kenai River is famous for combat fishing. That is where hundreds of fishermen stand shoulder to shoulder catching salmon.
Dip netters have a net, about six feet, (two meters) in diameter attached to the end of a pole. They wear hip waders and walk out into the calm surf to snag passing salmon. Each person generally takes home 30 or 40 fish for the freezer. That speaks to the immense number of migrating salmon. This has been going on for decades and the fish still keep on coming. Only the Chinook, (King) Salmon numbers are declining. There are strict controls on fishermen regarding King Salmon.
I think that I will go on another bear viewing trip next Summer. Maybe back to Brooks Camp, maybe to another location. I can hardly wait.