Thursday, July 19, 2007

Clever Girl

I put up a post talking about what the falls looked like before the salmon arrived, but I never put the picture up. Here is what the falls looked like when I first got here.


To quote myself, "For now Brooks Falls is just a small waterfall on a mile-long river, and standing there it is hard to believe that such a seemingly insignificant place is the basis for the health of an entire ecosystem, the survival of a community of brown bears, the strength of a regional economy, and the spiritual fulfillment of thousands of people."

Well folks, it's not so hard to believe anymore.


And here's what it looks like if you step back a bit:



There you have it, the reverse-zoo of the Brooks Falls River Platform. Here's another shot from the downriver Riffles Platform, looking up at the falls.

More on the bears later; I have a few more pictures to share. The other day I went out fishing in Naknek Lake, and I wasn't having any luck so I traded my pole for my camera so you could see the kind of views I get here while waiting to hook a salmon.

Here is another great view; I took this photo of Brooks Lake right before I set out in a boat to Headwaters Creek at the other end of it to fish sockeye.

I took these from the same spot later that day. Follow the eagle -- he starts in front of Dumpling Mountain...


And 27 seconds and 180 degrees later he is in front of Mt. Kelez.


Working the corner, a wooded spot where bears frequently pop out right next to you, can be an exciting affair. But I often ponder what it would be like if brown bears were not the solitary creatures that they are, and learned to hunt in packs. I call this my "Jurassic Park Theory"; imagine a group of photographers gawking over a gorgeous blond bear in the distance, when all of a sudden the bears that have been stalking them all along ambush from the sides... Fortunately for us (or unfortunately depending on how much you like photographers) bears are not velociraptors. A spring cub with a protruding tongue seems intent on reminding me of this:

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great pictures. My camera? I can't wait to get there. You have the photos so I want the fish. More by email.
Love, Dad

Anonymous said...

Mason,
These pictures are awesome! They give such a beautiful perspective and evidence of the changing environment. I can't wait to get there to experience such natural harmony for myself. Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos nephew! I sure wish I was there. BTW, it has been 90+ here lately, with 70-80% humidity. Looks cooler up there by the pics. Keep the stories and pics coming.
--Uncle Steve

Anonymous said...

still enjoying the pictures and commentary--thanks for taking the time to post them. how much longer are you in Alaska? wish I could drop in for a quick visit!
mackay

Mason said...

Mr Mackay -- Thanks for reading. I will be here until September 4th I think. If you ever manage to take your hiatus from teaching, and you can get away from the family for a summer, this is the job for you. Volunteer up here for a summer like me, you will not regret it. In any case you (and everybody) should visit this place at least once in your life. There is no way to describe how close I come to bears on a daily basis, you would have to see it to believe it. Its the only place in the world like it.

Anonymous said...

So, was it hard to get the job there for the summer? Have you worked for the Park Service before? How many people work up there in the summers? Lots of questions - thanks!

Anonymous said...

Mason-
Hey! Your parents told me about your blog so I thought I'd check it out. It looks awesome!

It's fascinating to hear about the place I call home from someone visiting for the first time. Too often I find myself taking the beatuy around here for granted.

Keep it up, your humor is very refreshing!

Adriane

Reid said...

Wow. I knew you were going to see some bears over the summer, but I didn't realize the Country Bear Jamboree was getting back together for a reunion tour!

Enjoy the rest of the trip, bro. See you soon.

Chris

Mason said...

Thanks for reading and helping my parents Adriane. I am trying to scheme a way into flying with Alan on his next Aniakchak drop so if I can pull that off I might be stopping through King Salmon.

Chris, hilarious as always. A few weeks ago some local fisherman got hammered here and was running through the river chasing bears with a pocketknife and a bottle of Southern Comfort. Which got me on the topic of, "See, this is why my friends from back home couldn't come here..."

Also, I dressed up like that dude for our halloween party, so his legacy is living on.

Mason said...

Anonymous? is that you Mr Mackay? It is hard to work for the park service, most people have to volunteer first (like me). This is my first experience with the park service. At Brooks Camp there are about 25 park service employees and 25 lodge staff.