Saturday, August 11, 2012

August 10th, 2012: Pinks, Seals, Bears and Otters, A Last full Day in Valdez

We got up early, five am, and headed back to the Daysville road. There we wanted to watch the bears and maybe even fish a little. Our main hope was to see the momma grizzly and her cubs but they never showed up. Instead we stopped for a bit and watched a pod of seals swimming toward the salmon at Solomons Gulch.
As we stood taking images an otter swam to shore and ran across the road disappearing into the thick brush. We wondered if it had a den. It sure had a purpose and it sure made a beeline. I took my pole out and cast into the schools of fish, hoping to catch a silver.
Before the single hook Mepps spinner even settled to the bottom I had a fish on. It was a foul hooked pink and it came off. Casting again I lost three fish before I got my lure back and each cast produced a fish. I eventually caught two fish for pictures, a male and female humpy,(pink salmon).
They weren't biting and all the fish were snagged in the dorsal fin so I released both fish. I wasn't setting the hook and still there were so many fish I couldn't not hook a fish. Stopping fishing we watched a bit and then headed back to the bears.
A black bear was feeding at the same place as yesterday and we watched it catch another salmon before it drug it into the thick brush. Waiting a bit a second bear appeared behind us and proceeded to catch and eat a dozen salmon.
The bear had a lot better catching rate then I had. Perhaps if I had used my teeth and I should have been dunking for salmon like the bear. It only ate the salmon eggs and left the rest of the carcass on shore. The bear sniffed a bit and then headed nearer us and soon we saw why as a larger black bear appeared and started fishing.
There were so many fish that both seemed content, at least for a while and I was reminded a bit of the combat fishing on the Kenai. Soon however the larger bear stood up and the smaller black hurried off into the woods. We had seen them catch and feed on at least thirty salmon in less then fifteen minutes.
Reluctantly we drove off and headed in search of more bears but we didn't see any more, just lots of bald eagles and gulls. Later in the day we took a short drive to the Mineral Creek Trail and hiked a bit, even though we could have drove in as we were soon passed by several trucks.

It was a nice hike and we did pick some blueberries, they weren't yet sweet, and passed a thicket of salmon berries that something had been feeding on,(hmm are those bear tracks?). Now one of the things while hiking here is to talk so that the bears will have a warning of your approach and its so weird to make noise as I have always been taught to be quiet.
We never did see  any bears and so we returned to the truck and made one last stop for the day, at the cannery area on the harbor. There the Peter Pan Cannery had a processing plant and even a dormitory for workers.
Stopping at the retail store we picked up some cans of Copper River Red salmon and some frozen razor clams. As dinner was now assured we headed home to clean up and prepare for the trip to Tok.
Valdez had turned out to be as beautiful as our friends had told us and the wildlife is definitely one of its blessings. Clear skies

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