Fly-out Trip for Bear Viewing
My folks will be visiting this summer and I'm kicking around the idea of booking a fly-out trip to view some bears.
My Mom has a great passion for wildlife and is particularly fascinated by bears. Unfortunately, she hasn't spotted any bruins on her previous two trips to Alaska. As a cancer survivor, her mobility is limited. Therefore, she has difficulty walking extended distances and traversing the rugged terrain that offers prime bear viewing opportunities.
She can be strong-willed though. On her last visit, Mom was determined to see a bear on the Russian River. She walked from the Grayling parking lot all the way to the confluence and back without a single bruin sighting. By the end of the stroll, she was extremely disappointed, but even more exhausted -- especially after climbing the steep stairs.
We're going back to the Russian in June and hopefully the bears will cooperate this year. Regardless, considering my Mom's health issues, I'm thinking a fly-out trip might be less strenuous and a more enjoyable experience overall.
Being budget-minded (and having to cover the cost since it will be a surprise gift), I'm looking for suggestions on an affordable day-trip to some prime bear-viewing habitat. Ideally, there would be limited walking involved.
Brooks Falls seems rather steep, so I don't consider that a viable option. Maybe Wolverine Creek though.
Any advice and suggestions on flight services, estimated expenses, itineraries and destinations would be greatly appreciated. I'm thinking that Soldotna or Homer might be good points of departure for crossing Cook Inlet, but remain flexible on the matter.
Iv guided alot in Alaska and Brooks Falls would be my #1 choice to garrentee to see a bear. Yes it is spendy. Wolverine Creek would probly work but is very crowded and not a good Experince. I would sugest Cresant Lake. You can fly from Anch or kenai area. Here is a link to the only lodge there. I have worked there it is nice. http://www.redoubtlodge.com/
I understand your position. My mother has been here a couple of times and forunately, while driving on the back of Elmendorf we found a black bear right next to the road so bears were taken care of. Some of the air services at Lake Hood have fly out bear viewing. I am consideering and would suggest Rail Ridge. I've used them for other trips and have never been disappointed: http://www.trailridgeair.com/flight.html
Maybe try Ken Day out of homer. He flies his otter on floats across the inlet to different Katmai areas...I saw him at Moraine and I know for dang sure you don't have to walk that far to see a bear there, and the first halfmile is very flat and firm. from the ridge overlooking the river it's rare not to be able to see a bear in the binocs and often with the naked eye...and sometimes within rod length ;)
I don't know what it costs but I think it would be a great once in a lifetime for your mother...She'd never forget it.
I highly recommend TALON AIR in Soldotna
Call Alan Helfer at 907-262-8899