"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Gullible's Travels: Reports from the Field

Report Number 1

The Grizzly bear is huge and wild;
He has devoured the infant child.
The infant child is not aware
It has been eaten by the bear.
—A.E. Housman

It’s Saturday the first of July and I’m right where I want to be.    I love this place, which happens to be:

1) one of the most earthquake active spots in Alaska;
2) on the flanks of a volcano with fumaroles often mistaken for eruptions; and
3)  populated by a large number of freaking huge brown bears.

In fact, I’m looking at two of those bears right now.  They’re right across the meadow from the cabin where I will stay for the next five nights.   And, by gosh, there are three people out there risking their lives to get close to those bears!

And what’s that?   Dang!   It’s a red fox running past the bears.


I hesitate to tell you where I am, for reasons that I will explain in a different report.   But, I’ve been here before, even posted a map showing exactly where it is, along with a bunch of photos and…. 

 Whoops, there goes a prickly porcupine lumbering across the yard.

Tomorrow is my brother’s 70th birthday.   I’m going to miss it because I don’t really have any way of contacting him from here.   I already sent him birthday greetings, and—what the heck—I’ll shoot a bear for his birthday.

 Okay, here’s the deal.   I’m at Silver Salmon Creek, staying at the lodge of the same name.  I signed up for a six-day photo workshop led by professional photographer Rick Collins.  There are six of us in the group:   two Jeannes (of which I am one), Dacia, Bob and Gayle, and another Rick.   I’m the only one who lives in Alaska.

Silver Salmon Creek Lodge

Silver Salmon Creek

A winter photo of the cabin I'm staying in.   This is a photo of a photo on the wall in the cabin.   Can't face it full on, so the photo is a bit skewed.

Our cabin is the one highlighted by the sun's rays.


Silver Salmon Creek is on the west shore of Cook Inlet, approximately across the Anchorage River on the east coast.   Years ago this place was a fisherman’s paradise for salmon.   It’s still a good place to fish, but the emphasis has turned to photography.  

Of what, you might ask.

Well, not the volcano, Mt. Iliamna, because you can’t see it from right here.   You have to take a short boat ride south to get a good view.   On a clear day, you can see the upper cone of Mt. Augustine, another of the four volcanoes that are on the western shore of Cook Inlet.   And on the flight down here from Anchorage, you pass the other two volcanoes—Spurr and Redoubt.   They are active, as is Augustine.   

2015 photo

You can’t photograph an earthquake even with a vibration reduction lens.   You can only photograph the damage afterwards.

Damage in Anchorage after the Great Alaskan Earthquake of 1964

So that leaves those freaking huge brown bears.   And that’s why I’m here, along with a dozen or more other guests here at the lodge.

Bears, bears, and more bears.   The more bears the better, bring ‘em on.   No guns, no bear spray, just cameras, lens, and tripods.   

And guide Rick, of course, who knows all these fuzzy critters first hand.   And right now, Rick wants us to get some minimal equipment together so we can scout the field before lunch.  Translation:   Go find bears.

How we roll...   Two trailers towed by an ATV four-wheeler.

Those two bears are still across the field and those two people are still alive.  Don’t see the red fox, though.


  1. Off to a great start.....! Nice pics to accompany your informative journal. Well done, Jeanne.

  2. Ah, nice to be back on the ground with you and the bears at Silver Salmon Creek ... no wonder you keep going back! Hugs. Patti and Cap

  3. so beautiful. thanks for sharing the nice post.!


  4. No guns. No bear spray. Why not the bear spray? Well they are probably well fed this time of year. You didn't say where the other live. Rick Collins? The leader of the pack. You imply they got the fox. Odd little poem at the beginning. Does the author mean the bears own cub. Cheerio. Cap and Patti