Wednesday, May 2, 2012
mcneil river bears...from a summer past!
went to mcneil in august of 2005. it's by lottery. it was my first and only time trying for it and i got in. best that i went alone or just with one other person. also helped that i went for the off season, the next to the last week before the season ends. not as many bears as peak, but that also meant we wandered a bit more seeking out the bears. i'm not good at just sitting in one spot all day. also i think the rangers were more mellow after an entire summer. at the time most of those rangers came back year after year. it was larry aumillers last summer in charge, he retired. i know i made an impression on him. he was there for 30 years and yet i was the only person who ever squatted over a bear scat and asked to be photographed in this position. turns out they all got a good laugh about that after we were all bedded down. them in thier little cabins and us in our tents. only 10 people are allowed to mcneil per 5 day slot. our week only 4 of us showed up. one of those was an alternate. preference goes to alaskan's i believe. the one guy was from the lower 48 and had tried for many years to get his spot. he was quite excited. we all were though. what a great opportunity. awesome bear watching. we got rather close to several bears, but never felt scared. saw alot of the first two bears pictured. the lighter one we called charley and i think the other one we called spike? can't remember. the darker bear had broken a leg but the rangers were happy that he was seeming to be healing and eating and all that. thinner than charley. was fun to watch the two interact. they would play fight, but you could tell charley was being easy on the other bear. comrades.these three pictures are backwards. 2 below charley stalks, catches and above eats. that is as fresh a salmon as one can get.didn't take many photo's today. got alot done though. had several errands to run. the dogs and i just walked in the bog.always have my camera handy, but not much caught my eye out there today. tomorrow the car will be in the shop all day. hopefully, it's all done before i head off to work. today i tried to get it emptied out so that i can try and get them to do a good wash out there. had to load the tires in there as well. i'm so late on my studs. many people do tire changeovers for studded in the winter here. so i actually have 10 tires for this car. i have 4 summer, 4 winter, a spare and a full spare for driving roads like the dalton and denali. it's not unusual. my element is dirty though. it's always a mess. some are neat car people, i'm not. looks tons better already though, excited to have it clean for a few days. put a few of my collected bumper stickers on the yakima as well. need to hose off the floor mats. really bummed that honda isn't making the element this year. they are all over the place in alaska. perfect dog car. hopefully, they will just revise it and bring it back by the time i need a new car. this one is just at 60,000 miles anyway. hopefully, i can keep it in the future as a dog car even if i get another car just for running around and going to work, sans dogs. got lots of garden work done. my body is feeling that. as the snow melts back i rake and pull the overgrowth. not looking forward to a rematch with the chickweed. would love to pay someone to come in and make my yard look fabulous...but don't like the idea of paying for it. blossom chased her frisbee while i raked and rio lounged on the deck in her old dog bed. will have to hit costco for some new dog beds and rotate out the crap ones from the car and back deck. it's an annual thing. rio likes a bed on the deck. she is so spoiled! fun to see her enjoy the sunshine though.have the pet sitter arranged for the big trip this year. hoping i can get the neighbors for the denali mountain trip and some friends for the kayak trip. my brother and his wife are coming up for a week so i think they have finally settled on a week to pop up and then i may try and see if i can arrange another kayak trip for the end of august and then it will be time for a drive north and back to winter! this summer is packed with fun activities. i know by the time winter rolls around i'll be ready for a break! these are not sasquatch tracks....these are bear tracks. pretty easy to distinguish a bear track in the mud out there.tons of eagles out at mcneil river. this is a juvenile, i think it takes a few years for them to get thier white heads. where there is salmon there is eagle and bears.apparently the japanese tsunami is starting to take it's toll on our beaches in the form of pollution. no plan was prepped for clean up. they were talking about kayak island, a place i've been, and how much crap is washing up there. kayak island is out of cordova and it's a place that tends to get alot of ocean trash due to its location and the currents. it would be a good year to head out there if you are hoping to collect glass balls i'd guess. who knows what else you might find out there this year. could be a problem for the wildlife, all that crap. the japanese are also interested in helping us get our gasline up and running. due to the tsunami, they have closed several of thier nuclear plants and are in need of alternate fuel sources. they may be willing to invest in our gas exploration in trade for gas. these are from the air flying in i believe. you can see mcneil river above and below you can see a few bears on the beach.we passed a few cool flat islands as well on our flight from homer. small plane with very limited weight. we were all unpacking and repacking in order to make our weight limit. those little planes can only hold so much. for this summers trip, we each have 300 pounds, that includes our own weight. i enjoy float planes and i've been on many over the years. flying is just part of living in alaska. i'll be on float planes and ski planes this summer. a local volcano, augustine. in the distance i think that may be iliamna volcano. next one closer to anchorage would be further up from iliamna, called redoubt. they are alphabetical heading north which is how i finally figured out how to remember them. the rest are in black and white. these were all taken before i got a digital camera. a professional that came along had all the fancy digital gear, though it was pretty wet at times and her's stopped working for a time. our little film camera's did good and the battery was easy to change out. many places i go there just isn't any place to recharge batteries. i have a solar charger so i'll have to make sure that is reved up before i head off on my treks. tomorrow i will try and get online and make our hotel reservations for dillingham. also want to see if i can get us out to wood-tikchik park for the day. may not be possible, but worth a try. happy to have the dogs sorted out for that week. it will be spendy, but worth it as i know i won't have to worry. my new glasses have arrived. will keep them in the car after tomorrow for night driving or road trips. not sure i'll have much time this summer for roadies. i do enjoy them though. my schedule will be all flipped around in june and july. will have to watch the calendar closely. don't want any calls from work saying why aren't you here. eek! will be fun though. i'll be feeling broke by the end of it. travel in alaska isn't cheap. water taxi's, float planes...it all adds up. trying to get more pictures loaded onto the shutterfly account. so many pictures. still alot that i need to scan though my printer/scanner is a goner apparently. had to laugh as i went online and looked up the error code that appeared on my printer. it didn't look good. i saw a you tube about fixing a canon printer with error code 5010 so i thought i'd check it out. the guy started on this step by step of how to open it up, blah, blah, blah....then he says to grab it and chuck it across the parking lot and proceeds to toss the thing off the upper deck of wherever he was and it smashed into a million peices. wasn't expecting that, but i'm taking that as a bad sign for the future of my printer. have had it for several years so that seems about par. maybe someone else can breath life into it.gotta wake up early and get the car in to the shop. they want it there by 8:30. i generally wake up and feed the dogs by 8 so my plan is to just go to the shop after feeding the dogs in a state of semi alertness and then get a ride back and sleep for a few more hours. gotta work tomorrow night. hopefully, i can get some more yard work done since i'll be at home without transport. can walk the dogs to cheney lake perhaps.hope you enjoyed the bears of mcneil river.