We are blessed with both great wildlife opportunities and some great scenery. On the four night trip you get to go to the Kakweiken River and visit Trapper Rick’s cabin. This is his view from the deck, complete with “Andy” the bear.
In late August Grizzly Bear Lodge uses viewing platforms on the Glendale River for our grizzly bear watching trips. At this time the salmon are in the rivers and many of the eagles have left the open ocean and feeding on herring to the easier scavenging on salmon remains from a grizzly bear kill. Scavenging is the most energy efficient way for getting meal. It is a matter of sitting in a tree until one is hungry and then moving to the river bank to eat.
It is common to see bald eagle with their wings out in the late morning a result of the early morning fog. The most energy efficient way to dry wings and warm up is to enjoy the sun from a nice perch. There are many mating pairs of eagles along our travel routes so be sure to remind your guides that you want some pictures. It does take time for a good picture with the right background and no branches to block the view.
The extra day’s stay at Grizzly Bear Lodge involves a trip to visit Trapper Rick. We cross Knight Inlet then travel through Thompson Sound to the Kakweikan River a total of about forty-five minutes. This river is located on the BC mainland and then we travel by road to Rick’s cabin. Several years ago the short hike to the cabin meant passing the location of a fresh grizzly kill. In this case it was a black bear that was not fast enough at climbing a tree. After about a month the carcass was picked clean and Rick had the skeleton on display at his cabin. A day with Rick may include any or all of the following: short hikes, fishing for salmon, watching salmon spawn (in season), watching grizzlies fishing (again in season), and enjoying Rick’s stories of trapping and living with grizzly bears.
The picnic lunches are popular with the guests. The basics start with: cheese, crackers, fresh vegetables (carrots, peas, tomatoes), drinks, plus a dessert of cake, loaf, squares and the ever popular LARGE bag of cookies. Then add any of the following: homemade soup or chili, wraps, sausage rolls, hard boiled eggs, smoked salmon and bagels, “Dagwood” style sandwiches (check the internet), BBQ chicken and the list is long enough so that you will not have the same lunch twice on your visit. What changes is the location of your lunch: while grizzly bear watching it is on a float in Knight Inlet’s Glendale Cove; whale watching it is drifting in a boat somewhere in the area of Johnstone Strait; and if visiting Trapper Risk on a remote BC river it will likely be on the deck of his cabin with a view of the river.
The champagne was brought from France (a tradition with the guests who take a bottle on all their vacations to drink in a memorable location). This picture is missing another table of food.
While eating lunch on the deck of Trapper’s cabin we had a visitor. The pine marten (marten Martes americana), a small predator, is a member of the weasel family, Mustelidae. It is similar in size to a small cat but has shorter legs, a more slender body, a bushy tail, and a pointed face. The fur varies from pale yellowish buff to dark blackish brown. During winter, the marten has a beautiful dark brown fur coat and a bright orange throat patch. The summer coat is lighter in colour and not nearly as thick. Males are the larger sex and weigh about 1 000 g, whereas females weigh about 650 g. The Mustelidae family also includes several other more familiar animals such as the ermine, skunk, and mink.
As this photo shows the rope is part of a pulley system used to cross the river to get to Trapper’s cabin. It is not a good idea to cross a river to confront a grizzly so we waited for about fifteen minutes while the bear worked its way along the shore. About 60 meters (200 feet) past the rope it swam across the river to our side so we got in the boat and crossed the river and took the fifteen minute walk to the cabin.
Bald eagles are only achieve their white headed between three and five years and prior to that they are able to sit in trees unnoticed. When soaring high an immature eagle is a little more noticeable. Still majestic with their wing span but something is missing.
This photo is taken up at Rick’s on the Kakweiken River. Sometimes the best approach to wildlife viewing is to find a good spot and wait quietly. Often this pays off and by remaining quiet and fairly still the bears don’t feel threatened and tend to go about their business. We keep out group sizes small at the lodge which we feel aids in lowering our impact on the animals.