Bears, Up Close and Personal

August 9, 2012

This morning we relax at our campground by reading books and gazing at the beauty that surrounds us.

The showers here cost $1.00 with no time limit which is better than .25 cents a minute elsewhere.

In the afternoon we drive up to the bluffs that overlook the city, glaciers and mountains and then eat lunch at a recommended restaurant named “Fat Olive”, famous for their home made pizzas.

It is now 3:30 and time to meet guide Charlie for our bear viewing adventure.  First up, taking off our shoes and putting on rubber boots or waders as they’re sometimes referred to.  Charlie is also our pilot.  He is in his late 40’s, hefty and his graying hair is cut in a crew.  He is gregarious, informative and comfortable to be around.  He is dressed in yellow waterproof overalls and grey boots that come up to his thighs.  Charlie is a retired police officer from Miami, Florida and has lived in Homer for 6 years.

Off we go in his white float plane to Chinitna Island in pursuit of grizzlies!  Dick is in the co-pilot’s seat, I am in the back where the view is outstanding.  The little float plane glides smoothly in and out of the clouds and below us, the Cook Inlet.  Magnificent views of volcanoes, glaciers and upon landing I see beautiful meadows and yes, bears!

Charlie, lands the plane effortlessly on the water and our adventure begins.  He leads us along the sandy and oft times muddy beach in search of those elusive brown bears.  “Don’t wander off,” he explains, “as these bears can be aggressive and don’t like surprises”.  (As if I’d need a warning.)

As Dick & I wait behind the tall grass in the meadow, Charlie takes a peek and spots 6 bears on the other side of the river.  “Follow me,” he instructs us, his blue eyes dancing with excitement.

WOW!  With my binoculars I see the enormous animals.  Lying on the sandy area is a sow and her twin cubs.  There are also some black and brown as well, all grizzlies.  As they make their way across the meadow to the grassy area, I am a bit frightened, but have complete confidence that Charlie has our safety as his number one priority.  What a show!  This is nature at its best as far as these animals are concerned as we are viewing them in their natural environment and seeing their behaviors up close and personal.   We can’t take our eyes off them as they play, fight, eat and sleep.

Sloshing through the mud, and making my way around “bear poop” and impressions in the sand of bear claws, we  a catch a glimpse of a bear in the river splashing about, perhaps trying to catch a salmon.

We don’t want to leave, but we have been here over 2 hours and it’s time to return.

On our way back, I sit in the co-pilot’s seat and Charlie lets me fly the plane for a short while.

What a fabulous way to end our day as it is now 8 PM.  We discover a campground close to the beach, nearby town and the boat docks.  This is perfect as we are planning to fish for halibut tomorrow morning and the boat departs at 6 AM; where another adventure awaits.




3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elaine Rudin
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 14:46:25

    All I can saw is WOW!!!


  2. Susan Mastman
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 16:23:15

    Homer seems like my kind of place. Wish our cruise went there. Love your descriptions of the bears.


  3. john murley
    Aug 12, 2012 @ 06:31:07

    Sounds like you had an awesome time checking out bears. Are you or Dick getting video on your phone as well ?


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