Rainy, foggy, cold, dreary, Pacific Northwest weather; that's what we awoke to this morning. It did not bode well for flying across Cook Inlet to fish for salmon in a boat on a lake and watch bears.
We got up, ate breakfast, and drove an hour from Cooper Landing to Soldotna, Alaska to Talon Air Services, Inc. When we arrived, we checked in at the office.
From there, we made our way to another building, where we put on waders. Even though we would be fishing from a boat, the waders would help keep our legs dry in the rain.
|Bob and I are in waders.|
|Tom, Kevin, me, Bob, Lynn, and Bob.|
It was raining as we loaded into the Beaver, an eight-seat float plane. Bob and I had never taken off from water before. It was exciting and a little scary, as is usual the first time you try something new. We loved it.
As soon as we were up in the air, our pilot took us across Cook Inlet, and then the fun and wonder began. The flight was bumpy because of the weather, but we loved it. We flew up close and personal next to the volcanic peaks, tarns (mountain lakes), and glaciers. Below us were braided rivers flowing out of the glaciers. It was breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Bob and I found it to be our favorite day in Alaska so far.
|Leaving Soldotna, AK.|
|Flying over Cook Inlet and|
looking at Iliamna Volcano.
|Mt. Redoubt (AKA|
|A braided river coming|
down a glacial valley.
|This could be Mt. Redoubt (AKA|
Redoubt Volcano). The lake is
white from glacial flour.
|The Aleutian Range.|
|Inside the Beaver float plane.|
|These glaciers are immense!|
|The Aleutian Range.|
|A large glacier and one of many tarns.|
|A tarn (top right) with a|
waterfall dropping down the
|Our pilot, Alex.|
|The plane we flew in on.|
The greenery in the foreground in the photo below is a floating bog. When our guide or pilot stepped on it, the whole thing moved. We didn't get to walk on it.
|Tom, Lynn, Bob, Kevin, Bob.|
|Bob loved the boat ride. I think he's|
immune to cold!
|Our view on the way to the cove |
where we would fish.
This tour was first class all the way. Our guide set up our fishing rods for us and taught us how to cast the lines. In fact, he did the first few castings for us while he taught us. He got the fish on the line a couple of times and we reeled them in. Those sockeye salmon (reds) are real fighters. I had trouble getting them to the net.
|Bill, our guide, set up our fishing rods.|
When we did our own fishing, I caught mostly rocks. LOL. Bill had to disentangle the line and lost a couple of hooks in the process. I did manage to snag one fish on my own and bring it in. The limit was three salmon per person and we all got our limit.
|Kevin and Tom had their own guide!|
While the fishing was great, the real stars of the day were the bears. Yes, we saw brown bears and, yes, they were close to the boats. In fact, one was about 5-6' away from our boat! But they weren't interested in us, they only had eyes for the salmon.
|Mama bear ruled the water.|
|Papa bear finally came over near us,|
the other side of the cove from mama.
|She was chasing fish, jumping off |
rocks, and very actively fishing.
|These three-year-old bears just|
came down for a swim and to play.
|They are fun to watch.|
|The other Bob keeping our boat|
in place while our guide
"used the facilities."
|Bob with one of the |
fish we caught.
|Here's part of our haul for today!|
|Bill starts to clean the fish.|
There were a pair of loons on the lake, so we were serenaded while we ate. Bill also explained that the small lake we were on was a caldera left over from an ancient volcano.
|The loon who serenaded us.|
|Bill getting us back to the float plane|
after a great day fishing and bear watching.
|Happy Bob on the flight back.|
|Me, Bill, and Bob.|