Saturday, July 19, 2014

Day 43: Pack Creek

I woke up at 7:30 to dense fog. The view all around was the same—white, the shoreline somewhere. We’d have to wait for the fog to clear before taking the dinghy ashore.

Luckily the fog lifted after breakfast and we headed for the dinghy landing area. Because bears can make quick work of inflatable dinghies, the rangers tie off dinghies to an elaborate rope system that takes the dinghies well offshore. The rangers then briefed us on the rules and we walked out to one of the viewing areas.

The first couple hours were slow. No bears in sight. But then a few emerged. One, a 29 year old female, had a mangled face and bad leg, but apparently still managed to intimidate many of the younger bears. One sow and two cubs went out on the flats looking for fish. Another bear wandered around on the mud flats, keeping far away from the other bears.
Mom and two cubs.
29 year old bear, with a bad right rear leg and mangled nose.
After lunch on the boat dad and I walked up to the observation tower along a creek. One bear was fishing when we arrived, utilizing a fishing method I hadn’t seen before. It waded around the river, and when it spotted a fish it ran violently toward the fish, trying to catch it. Despite trying for an hour, we never saw the bear catch a fish. I suspect it will do better once the salmon begin running a bit more.
This bear expended a lot of energy fishing.
He saw us in the tower, too...
More chasing salmon.
He didn't do any catching, though.
We went back ashore after dinner and watched bears on the beach a bit more. They weren’t terribly close, but they were engaged in the same type of fishing as the bear we saw from the observation tower.

All in all Pack Creek was a good stop. I’m not sure that I’d rush back there on future trips, since the permits are tough to get and it requires dedicating a few days of time. But I don’t regret going in the least.
Will it be foggy tomorrow morning?

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