Checking out the bears! Anan Bear Observatory
On Tuesday, our permit day, we took the dingy over to Anan and visited the bears. Anan Bear Observatory requires a permit. The rangers have a float in the bay, but you don’t check in there. You check in with the ranger at the head of the bay. It was tricky finding the check-in location because the tide was so low—the exchange was almost 20 feet on the day of our visit.
Once checked in, you hike about half a mile to the viewing platform that is over a small waterfall area of the Anan Creek. This is where the bears are fishing. You can watch from the platform above, and a blind below. The viewing area is like the deck on a house, just a platform and railings. The bears walk all around the outside of the railings and, while they are wild, they are accustomed to people being on the deck area.
There are both black bears and brown bears as well as sows with their cubs. The brown bear sow with her two cubs had a very successful day. She caught 6-7 salmon while we were there. (Other guests that were there the prior day said she did not catch anything on that day). Some of the other bears caught only one or two, and some didn’t see catch any fish at all that we observed.
The other interesting thing is that there were lots of caves behind the boulders where the bears would retreat to. It was interesting to see the interaction between the bears. Clearly some bears were subservient to others and would move when the alpha bears came near. We had an amazing day, and we were able get some great video. One got close enough that Jim was able to take a ‘selfie’ with it. It was a crazy, fun day.