The guy with the “pole camera” was eventually ratted out by another tourist and hauled away to “bear jail.”

My Bride eventually elbowed her way to the front of the pack…

The other residents of Katmai are predictably content to sit on the sidelines and view these encounters from afar, especially sows with cubs…

Although these challenges mostly end with only a bruised ego, there is always the possibility of a wee bit of body damage…

See y’all next time when we’ll expose Catfish Eddie and his crew of misfits at Dysfunction Junction.  Hugs, Chuck & Zookie

Okay, elbowing was part of it but I should mention that she bites people who annoy her!!  And others just for fun!!

In spite of the harrowing flight and crowded viewing platforms, getting a glimpse of moments such as this are well worth the frustration and effort…

This guy actually emerged in pretty good condition when you consider that these grizzlies are armed with a huge set of teeth, razor sharp claws and absolutely no sense of humor where salmon are involved…

And, unlike the older triplets, this mama bear is never more than a few quick steps away from them…

We knew that the trip would be well worth the time and expense as we were looking out the windows during our descent and saw several bears along the shoreline.  Pandemonium immediately broke out among the passengers as folks were jockeying about the cabin for a better view.  This sudden movement provided our pilot with a small problem as he had to compensate for the sudden shifting of 2000 pounds of humanity from one side of the plane to the other.  But we made it just find, albeit with one float still 5 feet in the air while one wingtip streaked through the water.

Whenever you see pictures of Brooks Falls on the National Geographic channel or some other travel documentary, they look something like this…

Getting to Katmai National Park is not something you do on the spur of the moment.  If you plan to stay in Brooks Lodge, about a mile away from Brooks Falls, you have to book your visit a year in advance…at least!  We made arrangements for a day trip from Anchorage about 2 months ahead of time and booked the last 2 seats available on this De Havilland Beaver float plane…

And when mom catches a fish she will hand it off to the cubs who, in turn, head to shore with it to share with the little guy…

This 1400 pound behemoth is the head honcho at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park and is the sort of bear that other bears stand aside for when he arrives to claim the prime fishing spot either below or above the falls…

While the gulls stayed close to the bears to scavenge salmon remains, the ravens and eagles kept pretty much to the treetops and allowed the bears free range of the river.   

In reality, the various documentaries depicting this area are pretty much spot on in that merely seeing the bears is not much of a problem, but getting within range and position to actually photograph the bears requires determination, grit and a martial arts background…

 Thar Be Bears                                                                July 28, 2013

And it is even trickier to shoot a picture of “the catch” with the bear facing the camera and smiling, so we had to settle for a few pictures from the bear’s rear…

And, as usual, the little guy finds a good vantage point to keep an eye on the action…

These confrontations do not usually end well for the new kid on the block…

His arrival is generally enough to send the others running for cover, but occasionally someone decides to challenge the old guy for a particular spot...

THAR BE BARS!!!!!!  Way back when “D. Boone kilt a bar on this tree” in the Valley of the Three Forks in Tennessee and proceeded to carve his accomplishment into the bark of that very tree I would wager that his “bar” was nothing like this “bar”…

These bears are experts in the art of salmon snatching but, even so, catching a leaping salmon in mid-flight in your mouth is not an easy trick…

A pristine wilderness unencumbered by man’s presence containing naught but bears and birds…

These 3 cubs were born last year and the 2 standing are significantly larger than the little guy between them.  He is too small to contend with the fast running water and isn’t much larger than the salmon they are trying to catch so he usually stands near the shore and keeps an eye on his mom and siblings as they fish below the falls…

Okay, “Where’s Waldo”?  Here’s a clue: If you peer behind the guy with the huge backpack full of photographic equipment you can spot her cherubic little beak pointed bearward.

One guy had a small camera attached to the end of a pole which he lowered to ground level for some nose-to-nose bear action, while others brought “spotters” along to assist them in locating photographable subjects…

Fishing below the falls is a much safer area for mothers with cubs because the fishing areas just beneath and above the falls are occupied by the larger more aggressive bears which will make a meal of her cubs if they get too close.  But the safest areas are usually those in which it is more difficult to catch fish and more energy is exerted trying to catch them.  So mama will sneak her cubs into the prime areas if she thinks she can get away with it…

A Katmai bear needs to learn a variety of fishing skills to gain the weight required to survive winter hibernation and mothers with cubs have to fish well enough to keep herself and her cubs alive during their winter slumber.  The cubs we’ve been seeing thus far were born last year and have already been through one hibernation.

These cubs were born this year…