Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Greg's Summer Bear Adventure End of Day 1 McNeil River

This first afternoon at the falls, turned off very warm.

 Greg ended up with a pretty bad sunburn. The bag containing his sunscreen and other important items was accidentally loaded back on the float plane when it left last night.
Even the bears seemed to take notice and when they weren't actually fishing,
 many of them just laid in the cool waters of McNeil River.
 The later and later it got, the more bears arrived at the falls. By the time we left around 8 p.m., there were 29 bears gathered at the falls.
It was truly unbelievable.
 I can only imagine how awed they must have all been when their record of 74 bears at one time was set a few years ago.
Our trip to and from the falls was tide dependent. Tonight, however, we only had to hike about halfway back as the high tide allowed a boat to pick us up and return us to camp. It was quite an amazing day!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More Day 1 from Greg's Adventure at McNeil River

By about midday several of the bears, full of fish, picked out a good spot to relax. While they rested, several more bears made their way to the falls and took over their fishing spots.
 This bear decided to take a break from the action.
 And again, another big male stepped in to claim his fishing spot.
 There were about as many different fishing techniques as there were bears. Some stood and waited in the same spot sometimes for up to half an hour before getting a meal. Others were much more active and chased  the fish they spotted in the river. This bear was more of a diver!
 Some preferred to stand in the currents and swat away!
 This big fella had eaten all he wanted for a bit and had to take a nap. As you can tell, he had his fishing technique down to an art. Judging by his size, well over 1,000 pounds, I don't think he missed many opportunities.
 All throughout the day, more and more new bears made their way to the falls.
 Big bears, like these, claimed some of the prime salmon spots in the river.
 This chocolate bear was one of the most prolific salmon catchers! During the whole four day adventure, he kept up the pace. Each day I could see him catching many fish in his chosen spot at the big rocks down from the falls.
 I don't know if this bear was puzzled or just enjoying a cool bath on this warm day.
More and more of the first bears in the waters that morning, the successful ones anyway, found a quiet place to rest.
More bear pictures later.
For now, we had our first snowfall of the season. Last Sunday night, October 19th, we got about three inches of snow downtown. Others on the hillside reported getting over 9 inches of fresh snow. Thank goodness the studded snow tires were put on the car this week!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Anniversary Trip 2014 comes to an end

We awoke Sunday morning to another overcast and cool day.

 We decided to just relax and take it easy.
Greg did attempt to fish for awhile. Wind, rain, cold, and staying tangled up in the seaweed soon proved too much and he gave up after about an hour.

 By the way, the fish we caught yesterday has been tentatively identified as an Irish Lord, not a lingcod. After Greg warmed up and showered, we had dinner at the Chart Room.
On Monday morning what do you know? It is bright and mostly sunny! It was also a bit warmer.
 It was a nice sendoff for our drive home. On the way home we did notice a lot of fresh snow on the mountains.
There was even snow along the roadside in several locations.

 We stopped beside the Kenai River for a picnic lunch of leftovers.

 We made several other stops including the overlook for this volcano.
 You can see a glacier far back in the mountains in these photos.

Rolling into Anchorage about 5:30, we made it home for dinner. We don't have any other trips planned until Christmas in Tennessee. Guess Greg will get to blog with more of his bear adventure pictures until then!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Anniversary Trip 2014

We left home around 5:00 Friday afternoon for our trip down to Homer. The weather forecasters had predicted snow tonight. Luckily, we never ran into any snow on our drive but we did notice fresh snow on the mountains along the way. However, we did encounter a big moose in Soldotna. This huge animal brought traffic to a stop in a busy intersection as it walked calmly across the road. We also narrowly avoided hitting a few big porcupines as they waddled across the road. After making a few stops for food and bait, we made it into Homer around 11:30. Saturday we went to the Farmers' Market and ate lunch in town. After a relaxing afternoon, it was time to get down to business. Fishing business.

 It was quite cold and windy on Kachemak Bay as we cast our lines into the water.
 I had several hits but could not reel one in.
Greg finally managed to catch a fish that weighed about 4 pounds.

 We think this is a lingcod.
 Greg will have to research and find out. We fished until Greg lost feeling in both hands from the cold and wet conditions. He finally had to give it up and call it a night.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nice Fall Weekend!

After a rainy last few days, the sun finally returned to Anchorage this weekend. It turned out to be a slightly crisp, but beautiful, fall weekend. We decided to get out Saturday afternoon and take advantage of the nice weather.
We walked around the park strip a little and noticed that some of the trees have already put on their fall foliage. These trees' leaves have already changed into a glorious gold.
 After dinner, we continued to walk around and just admire the mountains in the near distance. It is easy to get caught up in your everyday life and become jaded to this incredible natural beauty. However, every so often something just catches your attention and you realize how beautiful it really is here. As did these mountains around sunset Saturday evening.
 That's about our excitement for now. More bear pics soon!

Monday, September 1, 2014


Here are some more pictures Greg took on his first day at McNeil River.

 As you can tell, he got quite a few of bears protecting their fishing spot in the river.
Some bears had prime salmon spots and just waited to fish.
 The bears walked within 5-10 feet of him regularly throughout the day.
 Sometimes, the bears got into heated arguments that lasted several minutes.
 At one time there were 29 bears in the river!

 This fellow saw the skirmish and decided to wander on upstream! Probably a wise choice!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

McNeil River Day 1

Greg arrived via float plane to McNeil River Camp around 6:30 p.m. on July 16th. It was pretty much as he expected with a cook shack, a few cabins for staff, a couple of outhouses, and not much else but fireweed, alder trees, and plenty of Alaskan vegetation. The camp was situated right up the hill from the beach where he landed. It took a couple of hours for him to get his gear to his chosen campsite and get his tent set up. Thanks, Karen
  After getting settled in, a few of them accompanied Manager Tom on a trip to get fresh water. This was from a stream about a quarter of a mile away from camp. They had to use 2 wheelbarrows to help carry the water back to camp. It was a bit much to take in and he didn't get much sleep that night.
The next morning, everyone filled their packs with food, water, and extra clothing. They then set out for the over 2 mile hike to the falls.
 Everyone arrived hot and sweaty as it was a bright sunny day. They could already see the bears before they headed down the final hill to the viewing area.
Within ten or fifteen minutes, it was apparent that the bears came from every direction for the fish feast. And they came well equipped for fishing!
They walked very close to Greg and the six other viewers!