Sanctuary of the Bears

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“Bears are not companions of men, but children of God, and His charity is broad enough for both… We seek to establish a narrow line between ourselves and the feathery zeros we dare to call angels, but ask a partition barrier of infinite width to show the rest of creation its proper place. Yet bears are made of the same dust as we, and breathe the same winds and drink of the same waters. A bears days are warmed by the same sun, his dwellings are overdomed by the same blue sky, and his life turns and ebbs with heart-pulsings like ours and was poured from the same fountain…..”

John  Muir

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I cannot begin to tell you what an incredible day we had with Sasquatch Alaska Adventure Company.  I knew we were going to be viewing bears in their natural habitat but I didn’t know I would be so overcome with gratefulness at being in their presence.

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The morning started in a special way when we crossed over Beluga Lake and saw this gorgeous morning sunrise-I took this as a blessing and good sign that it was the beginning of a magical day.

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The sun continued to shine on us as we took off in the Cessna, flying over Kachemak Bay and the Kenai Peninsula. The views were breathtaking.

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Approaching Cape Douglas
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Braids of the Douglas River

When I called to confirm our reservation, I asked where we would be going to view bears-I thought it would be Lake Clark, but Jason told me it was going to be Cape Douglas.  I immediately Googled it and found breathtaking photos but not a great deal of information about bears.  I have to admit my heart sank a little wondering why there wasn’t much about the bears.  I shouldn’t have second guessed myself.  Josh and Zack our pilots and guides knew their bears and where to go to find them.

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Cape Douglas is a jaw dropping beautiful spot on the edge of Katmai National Park.  And when you see the bears wandering through this outstanding wilderness you know you have set foot in a very special place.  It truly is a sanctuary for the bears-for their safety, but also for the spiritualism of their surroundings.  I felt like I was in a wilderness cathedral.

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As if the beautiful sunrise and gorgeous flight weren’t enough already, the landing on the gravel beach left Jim and I gaping at each other with eyes as big as saucers-WOW !

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Seeing the bear track in the gravel set my heart fluttering
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As we came up over the rise from the beach, there he was..

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Josh and Zack were awesome-our safety and the safety of the bears was their number one priority.  You could tell they were extremely familiar with the bears as individuals and shared their quirks and characteristics with us.  Their were twelve of us, including Josh and Zack.  And we stayed close together as we hiked around the river and upstream.

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We hiked quite a bit through the streams and mud and came upon quite a few of the bears out for their morning fishing expedition.

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This big boy was a crazy good fisherbear !  He is big and plump from his success not from his sleeping on the beach.   I loved how tolerant he was of us-oh it’s the humans again, come to take a look.  Well look all you want, I’m going back to sleep..yawn…

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This brother and sister chased each other through the grasses in a game of hide and seek

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A paradise for bears

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Catch me if you can, and he did !

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Wolf tracks

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Spending the day watching the bears and sharing their space was so very special and magical.  I knew I would never ever forget this day-and then Zack shouted out “We have a wolf nearby”.  We all started looking everywhere to find him and there he was, across the flats on the other side of the river.  My heart was beating so fast, I couldn’t believe how blessed I was feeling.  I have never seen a wolf in the wild and it had been a dream of mine-and there he was-right in front of me.  We quietly watched as he circled  the bears who were still out fishing.

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And the bears watched him too. Each tolerating the other’s presence.  I wanted to jump up and down, I was so thrilled and excited-thank you to the Universe for allowing me to share in this moment.

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Time to leave this spiritual place-I could have stayed for months. And yes, the take off on the short piece of gravel beach was just as exciting as the landing

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Homer Spit , I’m missing the bears already

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And while I stood there

I saw more than I can tell,

and I understood more than I saw;

for I was seeing in a sacred manner

the shapes of things in the spirit,

and the shape of all shapes as they must

live together like one being.

Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks

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Happy Trails and safe travels my friends, and may you be blessed to one day walk in the footsteps of the bear and share their spirit.

PS I highly recommend Sasquatch Alaska Adventure Co. for your bear viewing in Homer, these folks are wonderful and you will have a day that will never be forgotten !  If you enjoy hiking a bit and being around people who respect the environment and know how important it is to keep these bears wild  then Sasquatch Alaska Adventure Co is who you should book with. (By the way I was not paid to say that ! And I was not given any renumeration for this blog post .)

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