Our bear viewing adventure day was a real adventure! We started with a hairy 1.5hr flight on an 8 seater plane, followed by 30mins on a float plane. Once we landed at Brooks Camp we had to go to bear school. Once we were familiar with the bear viewing rules & bear safety, we were free to explore.
We headed down to the river where this is a floating bridge. At the other end of the bridge there was a viewing platform and the trail to go to the falls. We got stopped at the bridge by a ranger. The rules state that you must stay at least 50ft away from the bears. There was a bear asleep in the grass right next to the platform on the other side. Crossing the bridge would have meant we were way too close. The ranger also told us it was a bear who had long sleeps. She was 27yrs old. It started to rain and continued to do so all day. We were glad we had read the suggested list of clothing and had rain pants with us. While waiting for the bear to wake up, a mother and cub started walking up the trail towards us. We had to back right up but then they went through the bush to the beach. We were able to go down to the beach further up and watch them.
The bridge was still closed at midday so we decided to go up to the main lodge and have lunch. They only serve it for a short time. When we got back to the river 30mins later we found that a bear technician had been down to escort the people across the bridge but it was closed again. We were so annoyed!! But then, a mother and 2 cubs came down and gift in the river. They were eating salmon and the cubs were rumbling with each other just like kids do. We watched them for hours.
The bridge was closed for 5hrs. But, it turns out we were lucky to be on the lodge side. The people on the other side were stuck on the platform in the rain and cold with no food for that time. And, for most of the time we were watching bears.
When we got to the other side, I walked to the falls. There were no bears up there at that time. The salmon were no longer jumping the falls so the bears were generally around the river where the salmon were. It was kind of spooky to be walking along a bush track knowing a bear could confront me at any time.
We left Brooks Camp on a sea plane at 6pm. The rangers had told us they had counted 17 bears in the river early that morning. We saw 9-10 of them and were looking at bears for most of the day. It was a brilliant experience and worth every cent.