May 17, 2021
It’s been very busy here since I got into Brooks Camp. My cabin is a little over a mile walk from “camp side,” which is where the ranger station, visitor center, campground, and pretty much everything else is located. It’s a lovely walk, but I’m still paranoid all the time that a bear will pop out of the woods at me. When the sun is out, the lake is the most spectacular turquoise blue I’ve ever seen, with these epic mountains in the distance. It’s been really cold here the last couple days, and pretty cloudy, but at least the bugs aren’t too bad, yet.
Yesterday I saw my first brown bear! It was a subadult, a teenage bear somewhere between 3-5 years old, no longer living with its mother. It was a little scroungy and lanky-looking, as bears are prone to look this time of year just as they’re coming out of hibernation. At first I saw it far away across the river, but later during our training session out on the bridge, it crossed right underneath us–definitely the closest I’ve ever seen a brown bear before, though I’ll most certainly have more close encounters this summer, I’m sure.
Not gonna lie, it did give me a bit of an adrenaline rush to see one so close. I wonder if that will ever become easier? I didn’t feel like I was in any danger, but my heart still just about pounded out of my chest!
Almost Caribbean-like waters of Naknek Lake