I’ve had a lot of folks ask, “So, how close were the bears?”, when we did our float plane trip into Katmai in Alaska. Well, this image gives you an idea.
Yes, that’s dumb (I prefer brave!) me sitting on my butt while a bear carrying a salmon walks 15 yards away and a second bear is rushing in to try to steal it. 😀
My wife snapped this pic with her cell phone. Don’t think I didn’t realize that she, the guide and the three other photographers were behind me. Ha!
Adding to the story, that second bear pursued the first and both came running right by me, within about 10 yards. An incredible experience but yes, more than a bit disconcerting. Thankfully they cared far more about the fish than the humans.
I do want to add one serious note… We did not undertake this trip without a lot of research, planning and caution. We had a professional guide with us, an Alaskan native who has spent his life around these bears and in remote areas like this. He was also appropriately prepared, if you know what I mean, and we had bear spray.
Even with the experience I have with wildlife, including bears, it is not something I would do without the presence of a professional. While the bears were close, we never felt in danger, truly. Plus, with the salmon running, the bears were solely focused on the fish and never paid us any more attention than a glance.
If you ever head to Alaska, let me know and I will happily refer you to the folks that got us there and back.