Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Haines, AK – Bears

We camped in Haines Aug 19-22 at Chilkoot lake State Rec Area. The lady at the Haines visitor’s center mentioned that we might see some eagles along the Chilkoot River, which flows from Chilkoot Lake. Haines is noted to have the highest concentration of bald eagles congregating in the Fall and Winter to feed on the late run salmon. We were a bit disappointed not to get to see the eagles in such numbers, but went out for a walk to see if we might just spot an eagle or two, anyway.


The river was beautiful, and we did see a few eagles high in the trees. Very difficult to get much of a photo – but this is a blow-up of one that I did get.

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The eagles had to share the salmon with the fishermen just downstream of this control structure. The ranger in this picture is counting the fish and sampling them for size as they swim through this “fence”.


What we had not been told – was the bears also congregated at this river to feed on the Salmon!

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This momma bear was catching fish for her two cubs. The cubs had walked out on the railing and perched there while the momma caught the fish.

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Though, occasionally, you might just have to help yourself!

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When they were full (if a bear ever really gets full) the momma led her cubs across the street and back into the woods.


The bears have a protected right of way – we, along with a group of other curious people, were on either side of this “bear zone” . DSC01455 (2)

All was well, until the bears decided to go for a walk right down the middle of the road – and right towards us! The ranger backed us all up – fast—and the bears finally veered into the woods. We realized, however, that they were heading in the direction of our camp site! We decided to head on back to camp. Then,while walking back up the road, the momma and cubs appeared out of the woods just ahead of us. They were heading away from us (and a car was driving just ahead of us) so I felt “brave” – but, no pictures, because Fred was behind me saying “get back here!” Believe me! we took the bear precautions seriously that night- putting all food and good smelling things in the car.

This scene was repeated each morning, and some evenings, while we were here. The first Momma was collared (I guess they were studying her) and she had just two cubs. The next morning, a big male brown bear was feeding at the ‘fence’. And later, another momma bear and three cubs showed up to eat. In all, we saw one male and two different females with 5 cubs between them.


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This little one just can’t wait for his breakfast. When they were finished, the momma got ready to go. And, like any good momma, she looked both ways……

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…then took her babies across.


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These guys looked like kids at a school crossing. We thought it was great fun to see the bears – we had learned to bring our car, instead of walking, and to ALWAYS give the bears the right of way.

Friday, we planned a hike up to Mt Riley overlook – and were driving to the trail head - when there, in the parking area was this bear! This one was NOT in the “bear zone” – he was where we planned to hike! Our car startled him into the woods, then he came back down and decided to head TOWARDS our car. As if to say “I’ll show you who is boss”…….



  1. Wow! I can't believe you've seen so many bears up close! Who knew they were so common? Glad to hear that you haven't been eaten up yet :)

  2. This post just made my day! The photos are awesome and so is the adventure to go with them!