Katmai National Park and Preserve

Travel Photo Challenge Day 3

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I’ve been nominated by some fellow bloggers, Tony and Margie with Back Roads and Other Stories as well as Jyothi with Travel Explore Enjoy, to post one favorite travel picture a day for ten days without explanation, then to nominate someone else to participate.  That’s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations.  It is my understanding that the idea behind the challenge is to expose audiences to new bloggers and vice versa.  I’m always up for helping fellow bloggers, so I have accepted the challenge. 

That said, my rule following self is going to follow Tony and Margie’s lead and break a handful of them.  First, while a picture paints a 1,000 words, I’m incapable of posting a photo without some explanation.  Sometimes the story makes the image that much more special.  Second, though not specified, I think the intent is to post 10 days in a row.  I’ll be lucky if I post 10 weeks in a row.

Alaska

Alaska was always a place I wanted to go, but never booked a trip because it was so big.  Ultimately, I ended up visiting twice.  Once, during the winter to see the northern lights for my friend’s 50th birthday, and once for a pre-planned hiking trip, to which I added a few days at the end.

While we did some fun activities like dog sledding in the winter, we only saw a dim version of the northern lights for about two minutes, so in a sense, the trip was a bust.  Fortunately, we had good company.

The hiking trip in August was also mostly a bust.  It was planned during the rainy season so that the river had time to go down from the snowmelt, as we had expected to cross it.  Instead, it rained so much, we ditched our backpacking trip after four days as we no longer owned anything dry! 

As I mentioned above, I added a few days onto this trip, and while the fishing also stunk, the saving grace was our sunny day visit to Independence Mine State Historical Park, Homer, Talkeetna, and my day trip to Katmai National Park and Preserve.

Katmai National Park and Preserve

If I had to do it over again, I would plan a four night camping trip to Katmai.  Seeing the Alaskan Coastal Brown Bears was absolutely spectacular!!  In fact, I’m normally good at telling time without a watch, but it felt like our three hour experience with the bears was over in a flash.

Upon our arrival to the coast, we squatted down near a mama bear who had a few older cubs.  While the bears came and went, and at one time we counted fifteen at once, this mama bear stayed close.

Alaskan Coastal Brown Bear at Katmai National Park and Preserve

She dug a bed, nursed her cubs, and watched over them as they frolicked and played in the water.  One of my most favorite pictures from this experience is of her raising up off her back just enough to keep an eye on her cubs from afar. Lazy, yet aware! And she sort of looks like a teddy bear.  HA! Could you imagine what she would have done if we bothered one of her cubs?!?  Anyway, the experience of being less than 25 yards away from these bears was remarkable, and I highly recommend visiting Katmai National Park and Preserve.

Each time I reflect on these bears, I think of my friend Tina who I met on this trip and loves hiking. While she doesn’t blog, it does remind me of some hiking blogs I follow. I particularly like Handstands Around the World, by Diana, and as a result, I nominate her for this challenge. She writes some great posts about hikes in Colorado. Check her site out. ETB

Shop

Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.

photographic note card, elk in rocky mountain national park
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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

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