Hravy bear kingdom

I’ll tell you about the Katmai National Park in Alaska, which was twice and dream to visit again. Do not dream about it every hunter and prirodolyub simply can not — there is such beauty as game and fish that can not help the feeling of some natural anomaly, excessive generosity of God.

Hravy bear kingdomPhotos in the material of Alexei and Maxim Shaskolsky

Beauty Alaska akin to Kamchatka, where more than half of all the glaciers in the world (about 100 thousand.), And the fauna is represented by individuals of record size. Trophy brown bear can pull 600 kg, of the same weight is sourced and elk, the largest «king salmon» — king salmon in our opinion — caught on the Kenai River — 44 kg.

In Alaska, nearly 100 thousand. Bears (brown, black and white) and 630 thousand. Population. And the famous «backwater» Alaska — National Park and Preserve Katmai, located in the Aleutian Peninsula.

The Katmai 15 volcanoes, some active. The most grandiose Novarupta volcanic eruption in 1912 led to the founding in 1918, the protected area, the center of which was the «Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes» (now it is one of the attractions of the park).
Phenomenally high number of clumsy in these places that explain successive waves of mass travel Pacific salmon and deserted. Wonderful tundra and taiga with majestic mountains, crystal blue lakes and rivers prompted the government to announce in 1980 Katmai National Park.

Now Katmai — is 19,122 square meters. km wildlife, tundra and mountains, rivers and lakes, taiga and the sea coast. Kodiak Island with famous for its size, «brown monsters» — on the contrary, through the Strait of Shelikhov. The last time came on the Strait krabolovnom seiner, converted to receive tourists — chatted scary; Strait is known for his tough-minded.


Hravy bear kingdom

The most prominent place on the bear Katmai — McNeil River. On the threshold of the river to eat salmon go up to 70 bears at a time (like something from one place counted 72 animals).

Nature Katme try to leave untouched — ground transportation in the national park minimized (there are two short dirt roads), bring tourists to the park and its attractions is transported by small aircraft (mostly seaplanes). If you bring a can of spray as a defense against bears, warn the pilot — he will put him in the capacity of «floats» gidracha (the salon can not take it).

Rivers flowing into Bristol Bay, already 4 thousand. Years of the most famous massive salmon run in the world. And this feature of the local river is well known to local Michael Potapych …

Bear population Katme — 2000 clumsy — the largest concentration of protected bears in the world. The most prominent place on the bear Katmai — McNeil River. On the threshold of the river to eat salmon go up to 70 bears at a time (like something from one place counted 72 animals). There are no roads, severely restricted the flow of tourists.
Opportunity to visit the bears thresholds chosen by raffle, and in the peak season you have four of the one hundred percent, you’re lucky this year. From June 7 to August 25, only ten of the lucky four days may witness a unique spectacle.

Hravy bear kingdom

Katmai. Strait Shelekhova. Feast at the clumsy begins when the «Bear God» will send them a dead whale.

Official «safety distance» between a bear and a visitor to the National Park, compliance is strictly monitored by rangers, just 50 yards. Salmon, countless herds going to spawn, so generously fills diet bear in Katmai, which makes it extremely complacent. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife, in a decade in Alaska from dogs killed 19 people, and 85 years from the bear — 20. So that the management of bear-human security, there is excellent, only to spoil the statistics should not be …

The Katmai to watch the bears can be either on the rivers, where they catch salmon or on the coast of the Strait of Shelikhov, which fueled rising tide salt grass, readily eaten by bears, and deserted beaches in the sand at low tide easily greasy clams to dig. A special success for local clumsy — a dead whale cast ashore on the beach.

Accordingly, in this case driven and tourists. And «hedgehog clear,» that the carcass of a whale should be given a little time podtuhnut — who he will eat something fresh, not bite through the skin. But the «divine» scent of a good podtuhloy kityatiny able to gather from the surrounding hills to tens of kilometers of clumsy on «holiday stomach» …

In the absence of such generous offerings bears, cows, grazing on the fertile meadows, which feed off the grass salt sea water; we tried this herb — local name — «goose language» — juicy, no fibers, «bear salad» … And you can, if you’re lucky, see and bears, bear cubs nursing infants or a couple occupied a pleasant procedure of extending the bear kind. Of course, always photogenic showdown — the struggle «teenage boys» to serious clashes hardened males. My friend, an Alaskan biologist Stephen Stringham, in one of his books about bears in Alaska has led the remarkable table for planning a journey.

Hravy bear kingdom

Bears in Katmai have a preferential right movement -with his arrival people should immediately withdraw.


Travellers at Katmai often stop at lodges. The first lodge for anglers opened in 1950 and created the phenomenon of Alaskan father of the current owner lodges Katme — Sonny Petersen, which overturned more than one drink a glass of laughing for wildlife Katme and friendship between the Russian and American. But it is possible to travel with a tent — you just have to get permission from the administration of the park. The campground has a camp in the famous Brooks — at the same river rapids of the same name, which bears a virtuoso (or not) grab straight into the jaws of the salmon leaping up. Large male daily catches of up to 50 «tails.» One day a bear can eat about 20 kg of salmon, and as saturation becomes consumption only delicious pieces of fish — which is considered caviar, skin and brain.

Brooks is probably the most famous place of observation bears. It was made by Brooks heartwarming footage of bears catching the jaws of overcoming the threshold of jumping salmon. In Brooks fly seaplane for the day as tourists from Anchorage, Homer, and King Salmon — spirited place.

Lodge itself is located about a kilometer from the «platforms» — wooden flooring, corridors, where the Rangers start lots of tourists, and two sites, towering above the most visited section of the river bears. This is a broad forest trail (once walked along with her son, suddenly 30 meters taxiing to us a sort of «father» of 300-400 pounds and leisurely walks in front of us: the adrenaline-with, however).

Hravy bear kingdom

One of the first Alaska fishing lodges — Kyulik, ingenious invention of the father and son Petersen.

Bears take place under the threshold (sometimes stimulated by jumping to overcome the threshold of salmon — over him, so that catch fish on the fly into the mouth), and in the best places are the largest «fishing». Sometimes the water is one hairy chump sticking out — all the «fishing tackle» immersed in the bubbling stream.

Michael Potapych sitting in chilly sort of «Jacuzzi» on the back, head against the reins, suddenly — enough, sharply dives with salmon in its mouth walks to the island red fish consumed. Feeling the water touch the salmon, the bear has to grab his lightning clawed paw and / or seize in the fall. Agility show seasoned anglers — gobble up pieces hefty seven fishes, goes to the forest for a siesta, and their nice results takes place immediately following the hierarchy.

At Brooks thresholds we spent many hours below the threshold of the sexes, I fly away from the famous sockeye clumsy, like adrenaline was perhaps a year ago, diving in Mexico near the bull sharks.

Hravy bear kingdom

From this area in Brooks can make spectacular shots bear feast.

Guides and rangers of the park when a bear immediately plunge them accountable travelers to retreat — this is an iron rule. Bears quickly learned that they are here — the owners and run the show. Our brother-Russian citizen as a child knows that the fun begins when unable to get over «impossible».

Let’s go with his son to bear on the main path leading to the river. Our «side of the route,» agreed a long time I tried to persuade the administrator lodge (really do not like to go «crowd»). I waders with a fly rod, the son of sneakers with photographic equipment. Go through the dense forest, riddled through and through with bear tracks. Match to the river, I go to the middle and start to catch the son on the beach, taking pictures. Two hundred meters — the threshold with a few bears, cerned waiting for salmon.
I see — briskly walked out of the woods a young bear and decisive step-priskokom directed exactly to me. If I were with a guide, I was immediately evacuated to a respectful distance.

I look — a bear intent is clear: to drive me vzashey. He waited his approach to 15 meters, in a stern voice I explain to him that, taking advantage of the absence of a guide, and that came from afar — from zakononeposlushnoy Russia, I send it on all four sides, and the disposition not yield. Bear clearly discouraged by (used to another), and stopping slowly ubredaet aside, pretending to be «not very much and wanted» …

I set out to get rid of and mother, in the prime of bearish forces — 15 years? 20. Walking slowly, ears poluprizhaty, head down, not good … it’s all done — 10 meters from the path I have adjusted his route, he passed by. I continue to catch the son on the bank sets a tripod to shoot, it is suitable to a group of three anglers with a guide, all in waders. Look — the trail, packed clumsy on the edge of the shore, moving energetically toward them bear. Shouted — «Bear!»; guide shaggy hastily making way immediately leads his group into the water, leaving my son to fend for themselves. Maxim, picked up a tripod with a camera and a backpack with photography accessories, also takes them into ice water above the knee — in their sneakers. We have fun …

Instead of an epilogue
Bear — the most intriguing beast of our latitudes, a fabulous character, funny, terrible, compunctionate and deadly. Horror covers bipedal intruder in the woods when the «master of taiga» rises
10-15 meters. But behold Michael Ivanovich (albeit American breed) in its natural environment — the ineffable pleasure, and what confess …

Sees God: I poradel for that and our bears can be observed without any problems — at the same Kamchatka. But the crazy high cost of helicopter time, lack of infrastructure, finally, Infinity hassle and cost for someone who still dare to start this business — all that separates the blessed time, when marvelous rivers of Kamchatka will be a fair amount of respected Russians admire shaggy symbols of their immense powers .

Alex Shaskolskiy12 May 2012 at 00:00

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