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kiliki
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PostMon Aug 05, 2019 5:06 pm 
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Scored campground permits for Katmai NP to see the famous bears at the famous Brooks Falls. It is everything it is cracked up to be. The campground is very nice; it is 1.5 miles from the falls viewing platform, though you can see bears everywhere including, one day, one taking a lengthy nap outside the campground gate (it's electric fenced). If you like bears I'd highly recommend logging on the day permits go online and trying to get one. Also saw my first wolf and saw him FISH! If you have an Alaska Air credit card, this is a great use of your $99 companion fare (you fly to King Salmon then float plane or water taxi to Brooks Camp). More photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/christy319/albums/72157710098367496

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cascadetraverser
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PostMon Aug 05, 2019 6:53 pm 
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Wow...how beautiful and cool is that!  Lucky you!
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Roly Poly
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PostMon Aug 05, 2019 7:10 pm 
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Absolutely fantastic!  I agree, lucky you for seeing those magnificent animals.  I hope others take a look at tour Flickr link.  Just amazing photos
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Brushwork
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PostMon Aug 05, 2019 7:17 pm 
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Wow, awesome!  Thanks for sharing!

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geyer
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PostMon Aug 05, 2019 7:21 pm 
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Incredible! I think I saw that rubywrangler was there last week too? small nwhikers world
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kitya
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PostMon Aug 05, 2019 7:38 pm 
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poor wolf looks hungry!
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kiliki
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PostMon Aug 05, 2019 9:05 pm 
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I know, he is so skinny! The rangers tell me that coastal wolves generally look like that, but apparently it's common for them (and the bears) to have worms too.
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fourteen410
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PostMon Aug 05, 2019 10:19 pm 
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Wow! Those are some amazing shots. This has to be my favorite though:

kiliki wrote:
Katmai National Park
Katmai National Park
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djt
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PostTue Aug 06, 2019 9:07 am 
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Was it difficult to get a permit on the day it opened?  I've had good and bad experiences with permit systems at other parks.  My wife and I plan to try and get one for next July.
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kiliki
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PostTue Aug 06, 2019 11:59 am 
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It was for us because we were in London and only had our phones, and the hotel Wi-Fi wasn't great. I'm not sure how it would've been at home with our laptop and also using the phones on better Wi-Fi. We actually didn't even get them the minute they opened they all disappeared before our eyes. But I checked a few hours later and found an opening for one night, so I snagged that. Then I looked every single day for other cancellations until I managed to string three nights together. Since the bears usually start dispersing the last week in July, I was worried we were going too late. But this year was a funny year. Alaska had that heatwave, and the salmon completely stopped running up the Brooks river mid month, and so the bears went elsewhere. It was too warm and there wasn't enough oxygen in the river for the salmon. But when the weather cooled down the salmon started running again and the bears came back, and there were still tons of bears for us.
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djt
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PostWed Aug 07, 2019 8:40 am 
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Thanks that helps a lot and thanks for sharing.
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rubywrangler
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PostThu Aug 08, 2019 7:44 pm 
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Yes I was there too for 5 days at the end of July and it was incredible! Great photos! Based on the fact that you've named all the bears in your captions I'm guessing you're a bearcam fan/addict like me. If you look at my Flickr albums (unabridged / abridged), you may notice that I took an inordinate number of photos of 503...

wub.gif wub.gif wub.gif
503
503

The only thing I would add to the above is that if you have a little flexibility and a small group, it is not that hard to get a spot in the NPS camp. Seems like a lot of people cancel - there's only a $6 penalty.  I booked 2 nights mid-September on the day that reservations opened, because that was the only time when I could get multiple nights together - for 1 person!  But I decided to try to go earlier for "peak sockeye" and didn't really have any trouble changing due to cancellations. Just checked rec.gov every few days until I was able to string together a few nights in a row. Much easier than getting a spot in Brooks Lodge due to lottery system, and about $600 less per night.

In addition to a lot of bear watching I also did a couple short hikes to Dumpling mountain and Ukak Falls and the confluence in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.  The valley is so unique and I'd really like to go back and spend more time there next year. Not brave enough to go solo in brown bear territory though. Any takers? smile.gif

801
801
hello
hello
775 lefty fishing on the lip
775 lefty fishing on the lip
273s
273s
480 otis
480 otis
rest area
rest area
854 divot?
854 divot?
503 and unhappy sub
503 and unhappy sub
171 & spring cub
171 & spring cub
dumpling mtn view
dumpling mtn view
valley of ten thousand smokes
valley of ten thousand smokes
valley of ten thousand smokes, knife creek
valley of ten thousand smokes, knife creek
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kiliki
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PostFri Aug 09, 2019 12:59 pm 
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Your photos are amazing. The 273s!! Look at them! And Cubadult.  wub.gif  wub.gif  wub.gif

Haha yes, I'm a cam addict. It felt overwhelming to be there in person. When our water taxi rounded a bend and the spit and the Q came into view I almost burst into tears. Don't tempt me with the talk of needing a trip partner next year...or maybe I should say ask me next year. Are you on the Bears of Brooks Falls FB group? I wonder if that would be a good place to look for a partner.

I would have liked to hike up Dumpling, but at any given moment I couldn't tear myself away from the bears. We did do the 2 pm Cultural Walk one day and the 8 pm ranger talk once but that was it for other activities (well we ate lunch in the lodge every day, partially to avoid day trippers at the platform).
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kiliki
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PostFri Aug 09, 2019 1:15 pm 
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I just looked through your Flickr--you saw a lot more bears on trail and in camp than we did! Is that a sub gang at one end of the Lower River bridge? How long did you have to wait them out?
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rubywrangler
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PostSat Aug 10, 2019 11:40 am 
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I only saw a handful of bears on the trail/road but a lot on the beach around camp. I almost tripped over one early in the morning on my second day.  Could not figure out why the ranger was frantically waving to me until the "rock" I was heading straight for suddenly moved and sprouted ears!

And this one slept directly in front of the camp fence the first 3 nights I was there.


The ranger on the bridge thought the gang was a sow with two 2yr old cubs + 2 subs, but I haven't been able to figure out which sow it would have been. The subs were sleeping on either side of the falls trail when I left the platform that night and picked up the other 3 on their way back to the lower river.  It took a loooong time to get back to the bridge that night  smile.gif
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