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North to Alaska - Live!

by Kathy 14. July 2011 11:07

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<<Happy in Homer | Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center >>


Russian River

Over the last week, whenever we had mentioned to Alaskans that we were going to stay at Russian River, they had all reacted the same way. First, there would be a distinct pause. Then, without fail, we would hear, “Be careful! Watch out for the bears!”

Russian River is world-famous for its spawning salmon and feasting bears. From mid-June through August, the area is supposed to be prime bear territory, as the salmon travel upstream by the thousands to lay their eggs and then die, and the hungry bears gorge themselves silly.

We were really looking forward to seeing some bears—hopefully, from a distance. And with a happy ending, of course.

Our USFS campground was right along the Russian River—aptly named the “Russian River Campground”:

We had a spacious campsite, just steps from the river:

The rushing water was beautiful, but there were no visible silvery bodies swimming upstream to spawn, and the few fishermen along the banks were not catching anything:

We learned from some local fishermen that not only are this year’s salmon runs “light”, but we had arrived in between salmon runs. The run from June had dwindled, and another had not yet come.

Although we did not spy any bears, we did take a pleasant 5-mile roundtrip hike from our campsite to Russian River Falls.

The trail was fairly level, with a slight uphill grade for the first mile or so, then it flattened out and followed the river (which we could hear through the trees).

Genevieve and Ben:

A small bridge branched off and led to Russian Lakes, but we continued straight to reach the falls.

Sebastian, on the bridge:

Genevieve, along the river in front of the bridge:

The waterfall at the end of the trail consisted of a stepping-stone variety, where the water gradually dropped down a rocky slope (as opposed to plummeting down the side of a cliff).

There were some wooden viewing platforms overlooking the falls:

The churning water did not seem to contain any spawning salmon:

Over the roaring water, however, we heard the shrill cries of sea gulls:

Where there are squawking sea gulls, there surely must be fish! Those birds must be waiting for something.

So we took another look at the churning water.  A very close look.  We picked a point of frothy white and stared. Sure enough, within a minute, we saw a fish fly into the air!

And then another!

And another!

The fish were here after all—they were just few in number. But we were in awe of their tenacity as they leaped and flipped in the air, trying over and over again to scale the falls.

As we turned to leave, a man and woman stopped us and said, “We just saw a bear cross the path up ahead.” They had seen a small black bear run from the river side, going uphill into the trees. They seemed nervous and were glad to have extra people to walk with for a short while.

We peered into the trees all around on our walk back to our campsite. No bears.

At the campground, a man from Anchorage came over to chat, wanting to share his tales about bear sightings throughout the years.

As for us, we had no bear stories for today. Only a (real) "fish story"—with a definite happy ending.

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<<Happy in Homer | Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center >>

Comments (4) -

7/21/2014 10:44:20 PM #


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gadgets United States | Reply

7/21/2014 10:47:31 PM #


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7/21/2014 10:49:25 PM #


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7/21/2014 10:54:16 PM #


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