Snorkel Bear

Trip Start Jan 13, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Tuesday, July 26, 2005

In my limited experiences of traveling abroad so far I've found that if you learn nothing else, it is how much you appreciate where you come from. No place is ever quite like home with the delicious cooking, people, environment and family. I spent 18 years growing up in a little town in Alaska called Dillingham. It lies 360 miles to the west of Anchorage and has 2,500 year round residents. Some of the most spectacular hiking, kayaking, flying, fishing and hunting can be found through our town. We are the only access to the immense Togiak National Wildlife Refuge and the Tikchik State Park. Both are incredibly spectacular. During the summer after high school graduation I worked for BBEDC (Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation) taking test samples of Alaskan Salmon out in the Bering Sea. One of the included pictures is this little fishing village Port Moller that I was based out of. The following summer I continued to work for BBEDC, but this time in Katmai National Park. I spent the month of July counting fish and reporting to Fish and Game the number of fish returning to spawn. You can see the outline of the counting tower in the background of the bonfire picture. It was a spectacular place to spend a month. I remember one day while sitting on the dock seeing this brown head bobbing down the river. I was stunned and took a closer look, which to my amazement was the head of a grizzly bear. The bear presently proceeded to climb out of the water and on to the bank. I must point out that it was 85 degrees (F) out, and this is unusually warm weather for the area. A few hours later I saw the bear doing the same thing, just floating down the river. I was told by the owner that this bear had done this in previous years and they called it "Snorkel Bear". Apparently it liked the fast moving cold river as compared to the mosquito's and hot weather. It was quite comical and we all had a good laugh over it.
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