Our encounter with grizzlies
Many brown bears also have their habitat in the Haines area. The best place to see them is at the Chilkoot River, a connection of about two kilometers between the Chilkoot Lake and the Lutak Inlet. They actively fish for salmon there, especially during the summer months.
We drive slowly up and down the river, but we do not see any bears yet. It is relatively quiet and only a dozen people are present and waiting like us to see a bear. Suddenly, a mother and her two cubs come out of the forest trotting and arrive on the road just in front of our car. A unique and emotional moment that we particularly enjoy. After a few seconds, the bears finally disappear in the direction of the river: it’s lunch time.
We get out of the car at a safe distance from the bears and observe the grizzlies eagerly fishing for salmon. A local amateur photographer explains us that this is an 8 year-old mother grizzly, who grew up near this river. The locals affectionately call her “Lulu”. She is equipped with a GPS collar for research purposes. The mother bear is now teaching her two year-old cubs to fish for salmon in the Chilkoot River. It is impressive and a real pleasure to observe the bears in the river. The mother is robust, imposing and focused. On the other hand, her two cubs are mischievous and somewhat clumsy, they seem to want to play in the water. They casually help themselves to the leftovers of salmon caught by their mother.
After a while, another family of bears appears. She is also well known to the locals. It is a 10 year-old mother grizzly bear whose three cubs are already two years old and therefore a bit bigger than Lulu’s. In addition to the bears, we also see many bald eagles. Near the mouth of the sea, a few round-eyed heads emerge from the water: these are harbor seals coming up the river not to miss the feast.