Bear encounters at Cooper Landing!
We arrived at Cooper Landing on our way down to the Kenai Peninsula. Although the weather was really bad with high winds and lots of rain during the drive, it is true that the Seward highway south of Anchorage is truly beautiful. As we followed the very high traffic highway, it offered breathtaking views of mountains, mud flats and the ocean. After arriving at our site, we were pretty much housebound until later in the afternoon, when the rain finally stopped and we ventured outside to look around.
This area is really all about the fishing. The next morning people left the campground very early to get out on the river, and we also took off early for a nice hike to the Russian River Falls. We met another couple, Kurt and Debbie on the way and talked with them until time for pictures at the falls. Unbelievably, just as Kurt was preparing to take our picture a grizzly bear walked out of the woods only about 40 ft. from us! You can see our reaction in the photo he snapped just as we were pointing to the bear. Fortunately,Kurt spun around quickly to get a picture of the bear, but it had already begun fleeing through the woods so he only got the “bear butt” shot. We could hardly believe what had just happened and how close the encounter was! The bear apparently had not heard us because of the loud water, and he likely got a lot closer than he had wanted to. He looked as surprised as we did!
Just after that hike, ML asked to stop near a bridge so she could get a picture of the beautiful green-blue Kenai river. Imagine my surprise when I looked across the river and there was a big black bear mama with two little cubs! These bears were a lot further away, but we enjoyed watching them walk along the far bank of the river for a couple of minutes as they searched for a salmon breakfast. A great bear-sighting day!