Another amazing season of bear viewing has recently finished. The late summer rain falling outside encourages me to stay inside and begin editing some of my images, and reliving some of the summer’s best moments. Throughout the season we travel the wild coast by boat and visit a number of different bays, each of which have their own resident community of bears that we see year after year. Though it made me feel a bit old, I was overjoyed to see a sow that I remember seeing as a spring cub 8 years ago while working with a Discovery Channel film crew on a series called Rogue Nature- Bears, with her first litter of two tiny cubs.
This 400 mile stretch of protected coastline is home to so many different bears. Each bear has its own unique set of tricks and secrets that are passed down from their mothers, and perfected through trial and error. I remember watching the female in 2006 teach Becky and her sister how to flip rocks over in the streams to find young salmon migrating to the ocean, and on the beach, to uncover a variety of edible creatures such as gunnel fish, mussels, and sand fleas. We spent several mornings watching Becky patiently teach her cubs these same skills. We were the first humans these cubs had ever seen, and they were a little nervous at first, but they trusted their mother who assured them that we were not a threat. After a few encounters they were as relaxed around us as their mother.
Many of the highlights of this summer, and past summers have occurred in this very special bay. This was the same bay that Timothy Treadwell called “The Grizzly Maze” because of the spider’s web-like tangle of bear trails that connect the streams, lakes. and beaches. I remember having a long talk with Tim here in 2000, seeing his love of this bay, and its beautiful bears. Many times this summer I thought about Tim, while watching the daughters of the bears he fell in love with. I have to say I understand why he called this his favorite place on earth.
Check out the video below for scenes from our visits here-