Imagine sitting down on a river bank and being so captivated by the scene in front of you that you don’t notice what’s happening right behind you.
Next thing I know, a mama bear is passing a few feet from me on my right, while a second later her yearling cub passes me a few feet on my left.
Moments later, mama bear dives into the water, catches a fish, and begins to eat it right in front of me.
You may think I’m lucky to be alive, but the truth is that I never felt fear or concern. Instead, I feel lucky and very privileged to be an observer in this incredible place. It was like being invited to the best party on earth.
It’s safe to say that the brown bears of Brooks Falls are unlike any other brown bears on the planet. Due to decades of protection from hunting, strict management, and repeated benign interactions, the bears at Brooks have come to see humans as just another insignificant part of the landscape.
I was recently immersed in their world during a one week camping trip to Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park and Preserve at the end of July. I’m still wrapping my head around all the amazing moments, encounters, and memories from witnessing one of the world’s most amazing natural wonders.
At this time of year, sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay return to Brooks Lake to spawn, which creates a feeding bonanza for the brown bears.
What makes this spectacle even more enthralling is that the salmon have to clear a 6 foot high waterfall to make it to their spawning grounds.
The bears, which are among the most intelligent animals in the animal kingdom, have learned to wait at the top of this waterfall and catch the salmon right out of the air. It’s an absolutely amazing sight to behold.
It’s a sight that I’m looking forward to sharing with my tour group during my Katmai Bears Photo Tour, which begins tomorrow!
We’ll be visiting three different bear locations over the course of 6 days and I’m so exciting to be returning to the best party on earth.