Sharing moments in time…

Alaska – Camping with the Bears for a week

As I said yesterday, today’s post is about how we camped for the week in the Hallo Bay environment.  I figured I would start with this photo of a bear basically roaming through our camp area to give you an idea of things that we needed to be aware of.  There is a longer story behind this bear’s “visit” but I think I’ll cover that in more detail (and with more bear photos) tomorrow.

“Bear in Camp”!

We started the last leg of our journey to Hallo Bay from Homer Alaska after spending a few days with friends.  The Bay is located in the Katmai region of Alaska which is part of the Alaska Penninsula.  The airplane was a single engined Cessna 206 equipped with Tundra tires which can land on a variety of unprepared airfields including the Beach at Hallo Bay.  We flew past several volcanos on the way to camp and also had some great vistas like this one with glaciers melting into their own lakes.

Nice scenery on the way to the bay…

After a smooth landing we carried our gear to the camp that our guide had prepared about 50 yards off the beach.  It had sleeping quarters for 4 guests plus the guide and his daughter who looked after our needs and took care of the camp while we were gone each day.  Our tent had a large vestibule for storing gear and we actually had cots and sleeping bags for our beds. The camp also had a large tent with table and chairs and cooking facilities for our mess area.  We spent quite a lot of time in there together when the weather was just too bad to go out in (the bears aren’t very active in really bad weather either).  Another notable feature of the camp was a small outhouse tent especially for our 3 female campers.  Here’s a photo of our camp – notice the beware of dog sign posted to scare the bears away!  Kidding aside, the string that surrounds the camp is actually an electrified fence – it certainly won’t stop a marauding bear but it might deter them if they are just wandering past.  The other notable feature of the camp area was that there was an active bear path just in front of our communal tent – during our stay, the bears tended to veer around the camp area by about 10 yards off that path.  OBTW – the pyramid shaped tent in the background was occupied by the only other longer term visitor to South Hallo Bay – an Aussie by the name of Jonathan that was staying in the area for pretty much the entire summer.

Home, sweet (and wet), home

All of our basic needs were taken care of – the tents were very sturdy and withstood some really terrible weather, the food was good (real eggs each morning, a packed lunch in the field, and a meat course every night for dinner), and easy access to the meadows and beach for animal watching.  All in all, we were as comfortable as you could be in a wilderness camping environment.  We were, of course, very mindful of keeping our food away from the animals, and of not harming anything in this very verdant environment.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you a little story about an exciting bear encounter literally “in” our camp……

11 responses

  1. What an amazing experience – I have enjoyed this whole series of posts. Just beautiful!

    July 17, 2012 at 11:12 am

    • RS – I’m very glad that you’re enjoying it – I’m enjoying reliving the experience! There is MUCH more to come….even a few new animals that I haven’t yet posted on my blog anywhere.

      July 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm

  2. That would scare me too much to sleep! Ironic as I am an Aussie, and the long standing resident is an Aussie. Great story – you’re brave!

    July 17, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    • Marina – we didn’t hear much at night other than the raindrops on the tent. One of the other photographers with us was also an Aussie woman cop – I’ll write more about our (great) camp mates later. If this got you a little scared, tomorrows post describes the most harrowing experience we had all week. But it again was not at all scary at the time.

      July 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm

      • Ahh, not sold on it. BUT I look forward to reading more about your adventures!

        July 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm

  3. Scott
    Great reading and viewing so far,almost feel as if I was there with you! ;o)
    Looking forward to more.
    Was great spending time with you and Dee.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:30 am

    • Hi Ross! Thanks for checking in! You’ll be in at least one of the sequel posts so stay tuned. We very much enjoyed it also – we need to talk about linking up for another wildlife expedition…soon (the Red Sox don’t count). We saw Jamie in the airport on the way back and she is already thinking of a return bear trip next year.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:52 am

  4. Scott
    Oh no! lol
    Reference another expedition most definitely,would you believe i`ve went from 50/50 for making it to Alaska next year to 70/30 already,amazing what reviewing some images on the latop on a 6 hour flight back to the real world can do to you!
    Rest assured I will be checking in from now on.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    • Sounds familiar to me….I’m thinking of maybe trying to go where we can have the best chance of finding spring cubs….that’s the main area I feel I’m missing…..

      How about a great migration trip to Africa?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm

  5. Although I won’t be staying in a tent, I’m going to be staying at Brooks Lodge in Katmai this coming July and I’m really looking forward to the trip. I’ve never been to Alaska before in all my travels so your post here is a real treat.

    May 20, 2013 at 9:53 am

    • Rebecca – I think you’ll find Alaska and the ability to see these fabulous creatures “up close and personal” just incredible. Our adventures up there are among our most powerful experiences – and we are going again in August to a different part of the Katmai – the Moraines. I’m presently returning from Yellowstone with some wonderful wildlife encounters and photos but the Bear experience just doesn’t compare to Alaska.

      May 27, 2013 at 3:18 pm

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