Well it was light almost all night…and of course as we were going to sleep…or trying..I am like – “why is it like that – how does it work…why is it so light”! Dawn…”Goodnight Stacey”. no help at all!
We did wake up really early since it is 3 hours behind here..so sleeping till 5am is like sleeping in until 8am our time.
We already walked to WalMart and got a few things…now we are packing up in the hotel..ready to go on our plane ride to Silver Salmon. I hope there is a bear just waiting on us! Seriously I have seen pictures where people are landing and there are bear there.
Maybe even a mom with cubs…just waving at us!!!
By the way..weather is awesome..like 70 degrees today. Waiting on out plane ride.
Day 1: David from Pen Air was our pilot. He was so nice from the moment we arrived. It was just us and one other couple on the plane. They were Karen and Dave from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Stacey saw a beluga whale, we saw a few seals and a bear running below the plane as we flew to our new place, just to get us in the mood.
As soon as we checked in and dropped off some things in our cabin we were off on our first bear sighting. The tour guides take you around using a four wheel ATV pulling a trailer with bench style seats.
At our first meet up with our guide, Cody (just like Koda, the guy in Brother Bear, ALMOST), we got to watch a mother with her two new spring cubs. Within just a few moments of our arrival the cubs started to whine which meant they were hungry. Mom rolled over and the two babies climbed up on mom’s belly and began to nurse. What a great start to our adventure.
We drove around and found a few more bears and got some great pictures before we went back to the lodge for lunch. Upstairs in the lodge is a big open kitchen with several picnic style tables where everyone gathers for the meals and the table outside was set too because the weather was gorgeous. We of course opted for the outdoor seating where we could see a female bear they call Blondie across the field. Could it get any better than this… why yes I could because a big bald eagle landed over in the grass not far away. It was gone before we could snap a photo but still cool to see.
After lunch we saw a single mom and cub and a male bear over near the ocean digging up razor clams and made our way over to watch. The baby (a cub from the previous year) was very nervous around the other bear and watched him closely. Later the mom and the two spring cubs came out by the ocean too but were pretty far away from us.
Later we had a great dinner of barbecue chicken, carrots, salad and garlic bread. Everything tastes really good here, I wonder if it is because it feels like camping? The cooks here are really good and don’t make foo foo stuff just really good tasting home-style food.
After dinner, we met up again at 8:30pm to head out and look for more bears and why not since it was not dark. We ended up finding the Blondie but she was down near a creek and she made her way across. The lighting was beautiful and she looked so pretty out by the creek. Later we saw a few males but they were far away. The sun setting was making everything golden even though it never really got very dark. We headed back to the lodge around 10:15pm or so.
The folks at the lodge had a big bon fire going and everyone was raising a ruckus because it is after all the 4th of July. We were pretty beat though so we headed back to the cabin to get our gear ready of the next day. After all they are meeting up at 6:30am and right now back home it would be 1:30am and we would have been asleep for at least two hours already.
DAY 2 (full day):
The plan was to head out at 6:30… Dawn decided she was sleeping in so I was up of course early since we are 3 hours ahead. I really wanted to go to get coffee…but was nervous about walking to the lodge house because when we arrived and I asked about bears they talked about “Blondie” a young female adult that hangs around and comes through the lodge. She even does “bluff charges” and you have to hold your ground. So, I stood outside the cabin for like 5 minutes looking through this narrow path, which at the end, I can see what is out there. I said, “I can’t do it and went back inside”. Tried to lie back down and sleep…but couldn’t do it. Went back outside and looked at that narrow path again…finally I did. Got myself and Dawn coffee, then had to walk back again…I made a lot of noise kicking the rocks as I went.
Stacey’s morning trip – I headed out for the morning! BEAUTIFUL morning. Didn’t really see much wildlife but the scenery was great and the mountain (volcano) was out and beautiful! On our way back, I see Dawn on the deck of the lodge. She took a picture of me.
Dawn at the lodge – I enjoyed sleeping in this morning, along with a long hot shower, and extra time to drink coffee and sit out on the balcony at the lodge and waking up slowly. I made sure to bring my camera – just in case! As I was sitting out on the balcony one of the other guests came up and introduced himself as “Chuck” and began talking with me a bit. Then he just stopped and demanded, “Get your camera and come here quick!” I did not even question but just did it… I knew it had to be something good. I looked over the balcony and saw a big ole waddling porcupine and quickly snapped a picture. Sadly my camera reminded me at that moment that I did not put in a new battery.
Breakfast at 8:00am and then off we go again! First, we see Blondie sunning herself on the beach. This was one of the highlights of the day (until you get to the end….no skimming to the end)! She is such a pretty bear! She was very humorous rolling over on her back, and playing with a stick. Just great to watch. After Blondie we saw two males running across the field. Very cool to see. But by the time we went over to them, they separated and were just hanging out. On the way back to the bike, we took some pictures of an eagle on a tree.
We headed down the beach to a beautiful stretch of scenery. Hopped out to see the mom with the spring cubs! They were sleeping for a while. BUT then popped up trying to find mom. Ohhhhhh soooo cute. When they saw mom at one point they didn’t know it was her and they took off running.
Next we saw the mom with one single cub, they were eating grass and then the mom nursed the cub for a little while. We headed back to the lodge for our 1pm lunch and then headed out again.
There really is no resting! More bears and stuff… blah, blah, blah (just kidding), but really there were bears galore. We headed over to an area where there multiple bears with both second year cubs and the “spring cubs” which is what they call the new cubs just born this past spring. Our favorite sighting here was when one of the second year cubs started to veer off from mom heading right toward Stacey. Stacey turned and looked at Cody as if to say, “Do I need to move?” but Cody motioned that she was fine so she began filming. We joked later that she wanted to just pick up the little bear and give it a big hug.
Later we had some more time with the mom and first year cubs.
The cub was being really funny. Just loved it.
Looking back through the pictures….they are all running together!
Can’t even keep up with what was before or after dinner..pretty much you are looking for bears all day!
Next headed for the spring cubs..saw them and the mom kept standing up but we were on the other side….but got some good pictures. But I did say out loud, I wish we were on the other side to see her from the front.
Headed back to the lodge…we come across a different set up spring cubs and mom…unbelievable..and then she STANDS up!! It was an incredible sight…just loved it. They crossed the river..it was awesome. What a great end to the evening.
Silver Salmon Day 2
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Day 3 (full day)
Morning have been relatively quiet and we were both super tired so we slept in past the 6:30am and made our first outing of the day the one after breakfast. We headed for the beach were the Mom and her yearling cubs were and strangely one of the cubs was chasing off Blondie who had come up to check out the group. Mom was watching closely and chased Blondie off once too and wasn’t going to allow any funny business from Blondie but you could tell the Mom wasn’t too worried. After awhile Mom and cubs took a little nap using a log on the beach as a pillow.
Later when went in search of more bear action and came across a Mom and her single yearling cub. I hated to do it but had to ask Cody if she had two cubs the previous year and he hesitantly told me yes and that was pretty normal as bears have a 50% mortality rate. Cody did admit this particular mom and cub were his favorite to watch.
Later went to search out the mom with the spring cubs but they were sleeping and we couldn’t see them real well. We would try again after lunch.
We headed out after our lunch break and Cody started to slow down in a spot he had parked in a couple of times before when Stacey said, “What’s that?” and when I looked up I saw a beautiful little red fox just watching us pull up. She seemed very curious about us and even started walking toward us but when everyone pulled out their camera’s and they all started clicking away she got spooked and ran off into the woods. Wow! So exciting and unexpected we were all pretty happy and talking about the experience as we took off toward a creek when I looked back and saw the little fox was following behind us. What a sneaky little thing she was checking out when we thought she just left.
The afternoon was kind of quiet. I took a picture of Cody and told him we thought he looked like the guy on the Hungry Jack syrup bottle.
Dawn stayed in and I went back out at night…..MOSQUITOS were aweful…but I got to see the original mom and spring cubs and after watching them for a while she nursed them.
Day 4 – (morning)
This day we of course wanted to get up and go out on the early bear run since it was our last day (6:30am departure – but we were there at 6am for some coffee). Shortly after getting into our cart to head out up on the road in front of the lodge was a single female (“sow”) that came walking over to us…probably within 30 feet. This was going to be a great morning!
Off we went out to the beach…and oh boy were we glad we did! Momma and her two spring cubs were out on the beach getting some razor clams for breakfast at low tide. The seagulls were waiting for any left overs but we were also happy to see an immature eagle was also hanging out. The sunrise, beach, cubs, and an eagle – we had really hit pay dirt!
We left the beach and found another Momma bear with her yearling cubs by the stream, which we enjoyed for a little while then off to breakfast. After breakfast packed and the headed up to lodge to take some last minute photos and say our goodbyes. As Dawn was snapping a couple of photos of a bear in the field across from the lodge it turns out we were not the only one wanting to say our goodbyes. The bear crossed the dirt road in front of the lodge and walked right through the middle of the lodge area – so close that we ran behind Cody. She was just curious by wow they are big when you are up close.
And with that our trip ended on a high note as we made a quick hike back to the pond for our seaplane departure. I am purposely leaving out the killer mosquito assault while we were waiting to get on the boat to head to the plane. The tour guides joked that the picture would look like everyone there was so friendly because of all the waving they were doing in the pictures when really they were just trying to fend off the mosquitoes.
Off to Anchorage – Dawn was so tired from the non-stop excitement and busy schedule that she actually fell asleep in the back of the plane on our flight.