4048 Laurel Street, Ste 202
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Tel (907) 561-1711
email: IPTalaska@gmail.com


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Alrighty then - back to McNeil! So, as I as saying, this experience was like none other I have ever had. Maybe it was the calmness of the guides, the safety in numbers, or sheer stupidity, but when we were out as a group I was not nervous at all. Okay, that is not 100% true, there was one time, but I'll get to that in a bit. The "viewing platform" was basically a gravel pad on top of a big rock embedded into the river bank. Underneath and in front of it's overhanging mass was a another area. They graveled that and it is considered the lower platform. You spend half of the time up top, and the other half below. There is only one change from top to bottom or vise versa for the viewing day. They told us if they felt it unsafe they would pull us from the lower platform, or not let us down there at all. That never happened and as far as I was concerned both views were great. The lower offered a tad more shelter from the rain and wind.


Here is basic overview of what we saw. This was taken with a 24mm lens, so a pretty wide view.


At one point I think we counted 26 bears in view. That's quite a few. I think I overheard that over 40 different bears were counted over the course of one day. With that many bears one might expect some aggression, and there was some.


Aggression in the falls


There were quite a few spats like that over the course of a day. Not too many though, and we were told that as the Salmon runs dwindle the spats occur more commonly and with more ferocity.



It looks ferocious, and for sure I would not have wanted to be one of these but really it amounted to mostly posturing. A lot of gapping mouths, pushing. shoving, and for lack of a better description "gumming" each other. They would engage with their jaws wide open but I never saw any of them clamp down or really dig in with there claws. That's not to say they didn't, but I didn't see it. Many bears were sporting scars telling the tail of more serious altercations. We also saw some other bears rolling around and wrestling in the grass. We were told they were sub adults "playing" and in fact that is pretty much what it looked like. When the food sources dwindle and things apparently get much more intense! A lot of the identifying characteristics they use to recognize the bears are the scars they display.




For all the aggression, defensiveness, and hostility there was some tender moments too.


Some connections were a little more intimate than others ; )



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