Jump to content

A Late Trip Report: My Alaskan Safari


vishal

Recommended Posts

This is my first trip report. I July of 2015, I spent 6 nights in Alaska. Three nights were spent in Denali NP and three in Katmai NP(Brooks Camp).

 

Denali NP: The highlight of Denali was seeing the amazing Mt.Denali(McKinley) without any clouds over it. We camped in Wonder Lake Campsite, the closest you can get to the mountain without climbing it. post-50314-0-69982000-1453142974_thumb.jpg post-50314-0-27856800-1453143137_thumb.jpg

Other than Mt.Denali, the overall area was very scenic. post-50314-0-41337500-1453143229_thumb.jpgpost-50314-0-53345100-1453143239_thumb.jpg

 

Wildlife of Denali: On our bus ride we had two bear sightings, one too far way to photograph, and one crossed the road too quickly to photograph. We spotted several caribou. Our best wildlife sighting was a moose in a lake right in front of Mt.McKinley. Do not go there expecting to see too much wildlife. Our bus driver had been driving for three months in that year and had seen wolves only twice.

post-50314-0-40734500-1453143656_thumb.jpgpost-50314-0-15684600-1453143661_thumb.jpgpost-50314-0-55859300-1453143672_thumb.jpg

 

Next up, the bears of Katmai.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That picture of the moose with Mt Denali in the background is stunning!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

Lovely weather produced some great shots. To even see Denali is impressive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice, Denali is indeed impressive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Brooks Camp in Katmai was my favorite part of the trip. the are teemed with brown bears which were exceptionally large. Many people said we should have come the previous week. When we were there, we only saw 6 bears at the falls at once. The previous week 17, were seen at once, along with there being a wolf in camp. Despite that we still had exceptional bear sightings. We also saw several bald eagles.

 

post-50314-0-46575200-1453245415_thumb.jpgpost-50314-0-23901800-1453245408_thumb.jpgpost-50314-0-57586700-1453245402_thumb.jpgpost-50314-0-72031800-1453245391_thumb.jpgpost-50314-0-62962900-1453245380_thumb.jpgpost-50314-0-33727000-1453245373_thumb.jpgpost-50314-0-52024100-1453245365_thumb.jpgpost-50314-0-54704000-1453245351_thumb.jpgpost-50314-0-28361500-1453245338_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Summary: Overall I was really pleased with the trip. We will be back to Katmai NP soon, Denali NP probably not. I will be in Kruger and Kgalagadi in July/August and will write a trip report as soon as I come back.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Treepol

@@vishal wonderful photos, especially the bears at Brooks Falls and those cute cubs.

Link to post
Share on other sites
elefromoz

@@vishal, gorgeous photos of two "wish list" locations. Interesting that wildlife was thin on the ground in Denali, I'm often led to believe that Bears, Wolves are pretty much a given there. Still, an awesome place if you jag good weather, Denali is a glorious sight indeed. As for Brooks, just incredible, shame it's a "tricky" spot to get to with its popularity, ballots, and camping is really difficult coming in from outside the US, specially as you get a little "mature". Not to mention the weather, I learnt the meaning of the term "socked in" in Alaska, I'd never considered flights being cancelled, for days, til then, never happens here. What a great way to spend 6 days, lucky you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you @@elefromoz. Our bus driver told us wolves were at an all time low, only about 40 in the entire park :(. he had been driving for 2-3 months that year, and had 2 sightings. Grizzlies are pretty much a given, but often too far way to photograph. Our driver said moose are even rare, and that we were lucky to see them thrice. Apparently, morning and evening are the best time to see moose. But from what I have read, you will see more wildlife, especially wolves at Yellowstone.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Anomalure

@@vishal

 

I went to Denali in 2010 I think and did the bus drive in July. I was quite impressed with the amount of wildlife observed - I saw 4 Grizzlies (sow+2 cubs and a lone male), lots of Caribou and Dall Sheep, a Porcupine, Coyote, Red Fox, and best of all - 1 Gray Wolf. Wolf sightings seemed pretty common back then, as most people I talked to during my trip saw at least 1 on the drive (some people even saw pups!); hopefully the population will recover... That's very sad. People were also seeing Lynx during my trip reasonably often, but I wasn't fortunate enough to see one.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@@Anomalure. Our driver had good lynx sightings that year. In fact, he saw one the day before we went on the drive! I too hope the wolf population recovers. We saw lots of caribou, but we didn't see a single dall sheep! Our driver said that the time we went was the worst dall sheep year in a long time. We did see some dall sheep in Anchorage though.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Anomalure

@@vishal

 

Wow! No Dall Sheep?! That's unbelievable... They were scattered everywhere on Polychrome Pass - the driver we had gave us some percentages to give us an idea of how often he sees certain species during our trip - he said that he had NEVER missed Dall Sheep. Good thing you saw them in Denali - the are very beautiful animals.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
SafariChick

Great photos, really enjoyed reading this. I went to Alaska a couple of summers ago and also visited Brooks but we were there beginning of August and only saw 1 bear at a time, so your visit was better! What dates were you at Brooks? I've heard 2nd or 3rd week of July is best but of course it's also very hard to get reservations!

Edited by SafariChick
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @@SafariChick. We were there July 7,8, and 9th. We were very lucky as we found these dates open in May, 2 months before the trip! Other people there had booked these dates in Jan. Peak season is typically July 15-20th, but it's animals so you never know.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The number of bears also gets very high in mid September. The bears come back to feed on the dead salmon. You can also see up to 20 bears during this time too, though you most likely will not see them catching jumping salmon. The crowds from day trippers are less at this time, though the campsites still get booked up fast. Not as fast as mid July, but much faster then Aug. There will also be less mosquitoes at this time. I have not been there in September yet, but from what I have read you will see lots of bears.

Link to post
Share on other sites
SafariChick

@@vishal Yes I did hear they come back in September but then are not seen at the Falls as much. You mentioned campsites - did you camp? We only tried to stay in the cabins. If we'd been willing to camp maybe we would have had more choice of dates. We also booked late but got other people's cancellations.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes we camped. The Lodge is far too expensive for us, 500$ a night. There is more flexibility with camping as there is 60 campsites every day. From what I have read, August is not the time to be there, even June is better.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

Brooks Falls, what a place. Your photos show it. Majestic eagle, cute cubs, and the classic shot that shows the last seconds of the salmon's life!

Link to post
Share on other sites
kitefarrago

I've been in September and there were a lot of bears around. There typically also were one or two at the falls. No jumping salmons then, but certainly lots of bears, and it wasn't so busy that you had to worry about not being able to get a place at one of the platforms.

 

This is also the season when the tundra turns into its fall colours, so if you're also visiting Denali you're in for another treat! Maybe I could dig up a few pictures and do another `old' Alaska trip report.

 

Andrea

Link to post
Share on other sites

You have given us many beautiful photos - great to see the bears and youngsters. And your landscapes are also stunning!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your kind comments @@TonyQ. @@kitefarrago I would expected to see more than 1 or 2 bears at the fall at once. Did you go in early, mid, or late Sep.

Link to post
Share on other sites
kitefarrago

We were at Brooks Falls from the 4th through to the 6th of September, I've just checked. There were quite a few bears in the general vicinity, and we had some excellent sightings also from the platform near camp. But by that point there are a lot of salmons that are approaching death floating around, and most of the bears have been feeding up all summer. We even saw one sow catch a trout and discard it!

 

Andrea

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy