The highlight of our unforgettable trip to Katmai National Park and Preserve near Homer, AK last week was the grizzly bear family that entertained us for hours. The mother grizzly and her three, almost grown, cubs were fascinating to watch. They pounced on pink salmon swimming upstream in the river. The cubs frolicked in the water and on the river bank playfully pummeling each other with their huge paws and gnashing their teeth. Twice they lumbered toward us getting within a few feet as our guides dissuaded their approach and coaxed them into turning away. They were never threatening to us nor did they seem concerned with our proximity. I was never afraid. Excitement was the emotion of the day.
After about an hour, all four turned and walked away from us toward the dunes. I thought that they might disappear from view but Mama Bear lay down on the sand and despite their age (probably three-year old cubs) and their size, the cubs eagerly nursed. Afterwards, we had three more incredible hours with them that day. This is one of my favorite photographs and memories from that wonderful experience.