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2019/09/04 Alaska Day 01: Katmai National Park
π 2019-09-04 01:01 in Ak2019, Trips
As soon as we arrived in Alaska the previous evening, we got some sleep for an early rise to catch a couple of planes to Katmai. Katmai is quite remote, so we just took a Pilatus which gets you to King Salmon airport, the closest airport with a proper runway. You then connect to a seaplane that flies you to Brooks Lodge, where a lucky few can stay for the night, and from where you can walk to some viewing platforms to see the bears.


we took some amazon prime boxes as cargo :)
we took some amazon prime boxes as cargo :)

the pilot was nice enough to let me sit in the copilot seat
the pilot was nice enough to let me sit in the copilot seat

we flew over a glacier on the way
we flew over a glacier on the way

king salmon airport
king salmon airport


A native gave us a quick intro of the land around katmai and the different tribes that live in the area
A native gave us a quick intro of the land around katmai and the different tribes that live in the area

then we transitionned to a seaplane
then we transitionned to a seaplane

our plane was already in the water
our plane was already in the water

got another copilot seat
got another copilot seat

arriving at brooks camp
arriving at brooks camp

We got lucky enough that a bear was on a beach and walked right past the NP sign when we arrived


there were a few other planes
there were a few other planes


we got a briefing from the ranger on how to deal with the bears
we got a briefing from the ranger on how to deal with the bears

the lodge was nice, but we didn't spend any time there, not even lunch
the lodge was nice, but we didn't spend any time there, not even lunch


lots of salmons in the river
lots of salmons in the river


nice license plate
nice license plate


Finally we got to the viewing platform, you wait in line for a spot (only 40 allowed), which thankfully was only a 20mn wait for us. It can be as much as 2-3H for a spot. Thankfully we got there during lower season and it wasn't as bad:

we waited at the lower platform
we waited at the lower platform



they look for fish
they look for fish

Finally we got our turn on the platform, definitely good views:







some bears wait for the fish to jump up, miss, fall back and then they catch them
some bears wait for the fish to jump up, miss, fall back and then they catch them








I took some rapid action shots of mostly one younger bear that was pretty bad at grabbing salmon, it was endearing to watch. It did get one eventually but it took a good half hour. Here are some motion action shots of it:

After 1H, we were invited to leave the platform. We didn't want to waste too much time by going back to the lodge to get our food we were not alloweed to carry (it had to be locked up in a bear proof room), so we sucked it up and didn't eat outside of an emergency granola bar I happened to have in my jacket. We then went to check out Naknek lake, which was nice, but nothing to write home about:


we found evidence of bears being there, but no actual bears:
we found evidence of bears being there, but no actual bears:

more salmons in the lake though
more salmons in the lake though


We then went back to the viewing platform after the line died down and spent a 2nd hour there:







it was the end of that salmon run but from time to time we still saw a few trying to climb
it was the end of that salmon run but from time to time we still saw a few trying to climb

finally the bear was able to nail one
finally the bear was able to nail one




We saw a few other things too:


there were a few weird ducks
there were a few weird ducks


there was an old settlement
there was an old settlement


It was then time to take the planes in reverse and get back to Anchorage after a long day


More pages: September 2019

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