High Desert Life

Taquka-aq (Bear)

By: calpoppy, 10:37 PM GMT on August 28, 2012

Brown bears (ursus arctos) occur through out Alaska, as well as Canada and some of the lower 48 states. Though Brown bears are technically the same as a Grizzly, they are called Brown bears in certain areas and Grizzly in others.




On Kodiak Island and the surrounding islands the Brown bears are known as Kodiaks. The Kodiak bear is classified as a distinct sub-species Ursus Arctos Middendorffi. These bears are different because they are genetically and physcially isolated. The main difference besides size is the shape of their heads. The largest bear taken in the Kodiak islands was 14' long and weighed 1800 lbs. Another large bear was 1660 lbs and had a hind foot measurement of 18". I don't think bear mace would cut it if you had an encounter with these guys!

In coastal areas, especially where there is salmon they are called Brown bears, inland Grizzlies. There is a size difference between the coastal bears and the inland bears. Coastal bears are bigger. Probably the salmon diet, so much protein.

When we hiked out by Skilak lake there was enough bear scat on the trail for you to know this was not a trail for humans!



Pretty berries!!

The rule in Alaska and other areas where there is salmon, is where there is salmon there will be bears. On Kodiak the last reported death by a bear was in 1999, before that it was back in the 1920's. So people and bears can get along.

As we were floating down the Kenai river around the bend on a gravel bar was a young two year female bear. It was great to see her but what was really cool was to see her reaction to the two one year olds that came onto the scene.

Here she is minding her own business



Now she spots the two



Now she runs



Okay, maybe they aren't so bad









Here is one of those cute one year old, who really aren't all that small!



Seeing bears in the wild is the ultimate in adventuring for me. Maybe in the future a float plane ride on Kodiak to where many bears congregate for salmon spawning season.



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Brody, 8 Bears and Glaciers!

By: calpoppy, 9:51 PM GMT on August 25, 2012

We are back and what a vacation we had!! THE BEST! Brody had our hearts already but he has more then ever now. 8 bears sighted and several I got great photos of. Not easy when you are sitting in a drift boat. This blog will just be an overview. I have more blog fodder then ever, LOL! I will have a blog on glaciers, bears, Salmon, Puffins and the US Coast Guard, Station Kodiak. Weeks of new blogs, Yahooooo!

We spent 4 days in Kodiak with fairly rainy weather with the exception of Brody's birthday when we headed out to Fossil Beach, which was mostly sunny. Brody's actual birthday party the next day was the coldest August birthday party that I may ever attend. Brody was a trooper, but some of the new arrivals to Kodiak were freezing their you know whats off! It was at the beach and that wind was cold. My son took us on a tour of the Coast Guard Helicopter hangers so I will have a great blog on that.

Just a note on seeing Brody again. It pays off to use FaceTime or Skype with a little one so far away. He came right up to us with a big smile on his face. Many hugs and kisses later we laughed about what he thought of seeing a 3 dimensional grandma and grandpa!

A large sow (female bear) was on Kodiak with her 3 cubs! She would be at this river every evening. So the town came out to watch. One man told me he had lived on Kodiak 30 years and still never tires of seeing bear.

The Fireweed was blooming and the hills were so green it was like Ireland.

We had Bald Eagles squawking at us during one of our longer hikes, Sea lions out in the ocean.



Off to the Mainland.

Going to Cooper Landing we were on the Turnagain Arm and there were Beluga whales! To far for any kind of good pics but there they were!!

Our drift boat ride was excellent on the Kenai River with all kinds of weather in the 5 hours we were on the boat. We decided to hike out at the end of the trip and we were so glad we did. I have never seen so much bear scat in my life, it was not a human path but a bear freeway we were on. Amazing scenery,but we were sure glad that we had a guide and that he had bear mace.

The food in Cooper Landing was amazing! One place I can't recommend more is the Kingfisher Inn overlooking the Kenai Lake. A small place their specialty is white King Salmon. The best dinner I ever had.

We spent some time in Seward to see the Alaskan Sealife Center, I will talk about that in the Puffin blog. And stopped to see the Exit Glacier.

We went to Whittier and went through the 12 mile tunnel. Saw the Portage Glacier and then went to see the Wildlife Conservation place. Where they are working in reintroducing the Woodland Bison.

And then a night in Anchorage with their beautiful hanging baskets all over town. And a park full of flowers.

I am going to use a line from our guide to end this blog. I had asked him why he stayed here (he was from back east) he said because this land is epic! Epic in all respects, the mountains, the animals, the flowers, the everything!

Here are two of my favorite pictures I took the morning we left Cooper Landing.




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If it is wild to your own heart. Protect it. Preserve it. Love it. And fight for it. Rick Bass

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