It Just Keeps Getting Better! (Part 3: Katmai NP)

Continuing on with Part 3 from our recent trips to Katmai NP & Preserve….

We last spent time with this amazing sow and her young solo cub, where the cub had one thing in mind … nursing on mom, while we were in awe of the purring sounds coming out of the cub while doing so.

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However, soon mom had something else on her mind also … salmon … and soon leaves her cub briefly to enter the river in search of something to eat.

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Doesn’t take too long before she has found herself a nice catch.

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Consuming the salmon is short work for these skilled bears.

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Meanwhile, the cub awakens and becomes curious as to where mom went.  Standing on its hind legs is generally reserved for danger, simple curiosity, or getting a better view of its surroundings, as in this case.

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Once it spots its mom, off it goes to join her.  After some tugging and growling with the mom over the salmon catch, the cub finally wins that battle … as it learns how to take care of itself.

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And so she goes … back for another meal.

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We observed numerous bears over the course of the day.  This particular bear has caught itself a fine specimen.

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Not just any salmon, but a female, as evidenced by some of the roe flying about as it is chomped on.

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As it emerges from the river, often shaking off the excess water is one of the first things that they do.

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We noticed that this bear headed straight towards us with its catch. Awesome cooperation buddy!

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Then we happened to see it glancing to its right.  That’s when we realized what was going on ….

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This even bigger bear had set its sights on it, and its salmon, as it came charging in, then halted.

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Right about then, this bear walked right past us, stared at us as if to test our intentions, then planted himself strategically on the other side of us, basically putting us between it and the other bear.

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From there it began to devour its salmon.  See, this was a smart bear, for it came by us and sat near to us, knowing that the other bear didn’t want to be near us.  Sows do the same thing often enough with their cubs.  Though not this year, but in years past, we’ve had them essentially drop them off with us for unofficial babysitting duties.  LOL

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Meanwhile the cub from earlier was up on the hillside, along with it entourage of gulls, which were just waiting for any leftover scraps from the cub’s salmon.

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As we began to leave (myself most unwillingly), I noticed the cub, its belly full of salmon and its mom’s milk, settled down and lounged back – it’s “buddha belly” all swollen and peered down at us.  It was one of the cutest things I had ever seen!

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So, was our time in Katmai National Park & Preserve!  Of course, our guide Dave was gracious enough to capture our farewell shot – Tom B, me, and my husband, Tom.  Yes, I believe there were smiles all around … even on Dave!

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If anyone is interested in bear viewing – day or overnight adventures – in Katmai, I highly recommend AK Adventures (www.goseebears.com).  Dave Bachrach is our guide, who came to us highly recommended by our other guides from years past.  We’ve ventured out with Dave for 3 years now and have enjoyed our trips with him immensely.  Of course, for flying out to Katmai, we also highly recommend Wes and Angela of Beluga Air in Homer (www.belugaair.com).  Flying in the bush can be a concern for many, but we always feel in good hands.

Until next year … I hope that the bears have a successful winter’s hibernation and remain free and safe in 2015.

Oh, and of course, watching all of those brown bears catching and eating all of that salmon made us hungry for our own sushi … Yummy!

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Up next in the blog … Homer, AK … my favorite town in Alaska!

© 2014  TNWA Photography

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4 thoughts on “It Just Keeps Getting Better! (Part 3: Katmai NP)

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