Have you ever awaken in the morning and got that feeling that the day was going to be a special one? Well, for me, it was just that kind of day. By 6:00 am, we were off to the Russian River boardwalk to begin our “bear stroll”. We walked to the confluence, where the Russian & Kenai rivers merge, and we were treated to early morning heavy fog and mist, with the early morning light beginning to emerge.
We sat down to enjoy the view and wait for the sun to rise – or at least the bears to emerge. There was an wonderful sense of tranquility on the river, so quiet, nothing but the sound of the gulls and eagles calling out in the distance. Each year on the river, we meet great people, some from the far stretches of the world, some local. All have their reasons for being there – wildlife, fishing, adventure, seeking peace and enjoyment of the wilderness of Alaska.
This year, we met some new friends from Anchorage – Renee and Alton – and we were there for the same reasons, which included photographing the bears. We walked along the path alongside the river, but the bears were in hiding. After some time, we felt that they were going to be no-shows. We turned around and this is what we saw …
See, I always say that things happen for a reason … and if you’re open to it, you’ll be treated to something even more special. It was such an amazing moment and our equipment was changed out accordingly to be able to capture it. The sunlight rays were simply beaming through the trees and the misty atmosphere simply added to the view.
Before long – all lost in the magical moment – we hear Tom interrupting with … “we have bears!”. What???? I have to laugh at how quickly our reflective moment turned into pursuit.
What a encounter we were treated to that morning! The air was cooler that morning and I remember that the boardwalk was actually covered with a thin layer of ice in spots. I think that the bears really enjoyed the colder weather, especially with the sunlight out.
Catching, then ultimately eating, the salmon was the favorite activity of these amazing bears.
During their break from fishing, they would interact with each other through sniffing, soft pawing, and gentle biting. Nothing like watching sub-adult bears – not quite adult behavior and still open to playful encounters.
To get the best angles on these bears, one must get low to be on their level. The position of the sunlight is also a consideration.
Of course, the bears dictate where you can be and if the bear wants to be where you are, you gently relinquish your spot to them.
Probably one of my favorite actions exhibited by the bears is what I call “the shake”.
This one particular bear was having a ball in the water. It would find the hole where the salmon were congregating and catch one …
… then get on its back and begin to devour it, as the river current floated the bear down the river, all feet in the air, grasping its prize …
… then it would do it all again! Got to love it! 🙂
So we had a great start to our Alaskan adventure during those 3 days spent on the Russian River. Met some awesome new friends, enjoyed their company, had lots of funny moments, and of course, got to spend some incredible time with the bears. 🙂
Yes, they sure do have the life! Then again, so does Tom!
Today is a special day as well … it’s my sherpa’s birthday! Today’s post is dedicated to my husband and best friend – Tom. Happy Birthday baby! Love you! xoxoxo
Next will be our visit to Katmai National Park & Preserve for more coastal brown bears!