Noatak River, Alaska August 2015

From Nelson Walker Lake to Kotzebue

August 14, 2015

A Beary good day with 10 bear sightings! After a long night in the tent we were ready to have breakfast by 6:00. It was a short paddle to Ricky’s place, unfortunately he was not there. Ron and Sue, a couple from Minnesota, were there drying out their gear in his cabin. Ricky had a very neat and organized cabin. Ron thought that he might have been a missionary.  Many spiritual quotes were on his walls. Outside he had built a cache, a permafrost food storage shed, a sauna and a wood shed. He has a house in Noatak but spends a lot of time here. After an interesting conversation with Ron about the Caribou herds of the Northwest Territories, we left the cabin and headed into the best bear watching part of the trip. We saw bears swimming, a sow and cub walking along the shore and then came the best sighting yet. A large bear was eating a salmon and as the river took us closer she stood up and gave us quite a look. Unlike the other bears who ran away after standing up, she started running towards us. Soon though we saw the reason.  There were three cubs near by.  She ran toward them rounded them up and off they went.  We were glad that we had not gotten between them. Lots of salmon were jumping and the river was a maze of channels. Many places were quite shallow and most of the time we were able to follow the deepest channel. Several times though it was time to hop out of the boat and pull it over the shallows. Our bear senses were on alert during these times. 

Miles traveled 30