Boondock– Saturday was our last night boondocking at Robe Lake, Valdez. Friday night there were two other RV’s boondocking here but last night we had the place to ourselves. This has been a good boondocking site. It’s just a few miles into the main part of town and it’s beautiful and very quite.
Travel Plan– We’ll dump our waste tanks in the free dump site in Valdez this morning, get fresh water and gas and head out to Worthington Glacier on our way out of this area. Looking forward to driving once again on the Richardson Highway. Will be heading toward Tok but along the way is another dirt road into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park so we will give it another go at seeing more of this beautiful, huge National Park. Then we will begin working our way down the Cassier Highway on our way to Stewart/Hyder where, if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to see more brown bears in the wild fishing for salmon.
Brown bear watching– Thursday evening we went out to see the brown bear sow and her four cubs fishing near the fish hatchery on Prince William Sound in Valdez. We did get to see her as she tried bringing her cubs out of the woods, out from behind a chain link fence, across the street and down to the water where she likes to fish. She led her cubs out from behind the chain link fence but only one cub followed her lead. The other three got stuck behind the fence and started calling to the mother as she started to cross the street. Back the mother went and this time all four cubs followed her lead as she took them to her fishing area. At this point, we left the area but were gratified that there were some public safety officials there to maintain some crowd control and protect both the onlookers and the bear. It’s very unusual to see a mama with four cubs. Usually they are born 1-3 to a litter so to see four cubs was quite a thrill for us. In all the time we spent in Yellowstone National Park, we had heard of four cubs but never actually saw this many. Think this is truely a once in a lifetime experience and we could stay there all day and watch these bears. The locals of Valdez tell us this sow had a litter of three cubs two years ago and she managed to raise them all to maturity without loosing any. Usually one or sometimes two cubs are lost to predators so we’re hoping that in this case she can raise all four of these cubs to maturity. She seems to be a patient, attentive mother and responds immediately when any of the cubs give a distress call to her. There seems to be one runt in this litter. It is noticably smaller than the other cubs and has some light colored fur around it’s neck and on it’s chest. Friday morning we were up at 5:00 am and drove over to the bear fishing area to watch her fish and see her cubs. As you can imagine, there were very few folks around at this hour so the sow and her cubs moved about unencumbered by human presence. Still find it amazing how proficient these bear are at catching fish. We watched her catch at least a dozen fish and the cubs pitched right in and helped her eat them. This is a memory we’ll enjoy for the rest of our lives. Met a couple from Ohio this morning. They also saw the bear and agreed it was a wonderful experience to see them in the wild, not in a zoo. Something they never dreamed of seeing.