Sunday, 11 June 2017

McNeil River, June 2016

McNeil River on the Alaska Peninsula is my view the best place in the world to view brown bears, since it's true wilderness, managed incredibly sensitively to minimise impact upon the ecosystem. For me, the landscape has gives this place an incredible, life changing quality, which is why on this page I present a wider perspective, alongside the more commonly shared close up shorts of the bears. It's not easy to visit this sanctuary, as places are allocated by lottery, and being so remote, it's an expensive float plane journey from Homer, itself at the end of the road. I'm incredibly lucky to have visited twice: in July 2014, and earlier in the season in June 2016. My more recent visit had a more laid back atmosphere: the specular mass congregation of bears fishing at the Falls was yet to take place, but instead there was greater chance to experience individual bears and small groups at Mikfik Creek, and to explore that stunning landscape. The few days I've spent in this paradise are amongst the most memorable and precious of my life; I hope I'm lucky enough to be able to return one day.

Departing from the cosmic hamlet of Homer

First glimpse of camp

The Cook Cabin (constructed to separate bears from human food)

Food cache in camp

A young bear looking across the spit from the edge of camp

The path to the stream which is camp's water supply

View from camp

A wolf in the distance seen from camp

This was taken close to midnight from camp: around the summer solstice, the sun barely sets

The hike from camp to Mikfik Creek

Mount Augustine in the distance, which last erupted in 2006

Mikfik Creek

Bald Eagle

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