In a previous post, you got an idea of the layout for Brooks Lodge. Now, it’s time to take your camera and start viewing the bears.
This post deals with the Lower Platform and photos you can capture from that vantage point.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The path through the lodge complex parallels the shoreline of Naknek Lake. Rangers advise visitors to keep to the paths, though, since the beach is the purview of the bears…..actually, everywhere in the park is the bears’ purview and sometimes one sees an 800 lb bear ambling up the path to plop itself down in front of one of the buildings for a quick rest before the rangers try to chase it away with loud voices and clapping. While it’s one thing for the bears to move along the path through the lodge area to get from Point A to Point B, it’s another thing for a bear to start making itself comfortable in a lodging area inhabited by larger numbers of humans; rangers and volunteers definitely work at discouraging that behavior.
The path continues away from the lodge buildings down to the bank of Brooks River and a floating bridge connecting the lodge with the first of three viewing platforms (the Lower Platform).
The view of the bridge from the bank of the Brooks River. That bus you see in the distance is your ride to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes – if you’ve purchased a ticket for about $90+ which includes a box lunch for the day-long tour.
The platform not only affords ample bear-sighting but also offers expansive views of the mouth of the Brooks River and a portion of Naknek Lake. From this vantage point, you can see bears, fishermen (and women) and floatplanes landing and taking off. If you have your polarizer filter attached to your lens, you can also see the salmon swimming en mass in the shallower portions of the water.
This is one of the thing that will cause a “bear jam”, closing the bridge at both ends and moving back anybody waiting at the river bank.
Hard to tell with this upload, but there is a bear parked right in front of the gate right at the very end of the bridge.
Set up for action at the Lower Platform
Catching the action. My organized photo tour group’s first day in the park at the Lower Platform was quite the experience – especially when an amorous boar chanced upon this willing sow right next to the viewing platform.
Playing in the distance. Caught this shot with my rented 500mm lens and then did some cropping to focus more on the bears.
Sharing the beach with the bear
A sow and her spring triplets
Alone on the road
Looking across the Brooks River oxbow area to the mountains beyond
Yearling triplets at the Lower Platform
The view toward the mouth of the Brooks River and Naknek Lake beyond, on my first day there – a very overcast, rainy day. Compare this image to the image below, taken a couple of days later, late in the evening (yes, it’s that light at 10PM), while I stood on the bridge with my tripod and camera.
For more information on the cameras and nitty-gritty photography info regarding the park and the platforms, click on this link to get to the article I wrote for the National Parks Traveler website.
Most of the images you see here in this blog post (and my other Alaska blog posts) are for sale on my website, and you can order my various 2014 Alaska calendars by clicking on any of the calendar images on the left side of this blog site.
Next Post: The Riffles Platform