The ice has come

Bird’s eye view: First day of ice on The Pond. The beaver’s trail can be seen to the left.

For this season, we had the first 24 hour period over the weekend where the temperature did not get above freezing. It came 11 days later than on average.

The Pond received its first full coat of ice by Sunday morning. Thin as it is, one could see where the beaver swam under the ice.

The fire in the wood stove is still not going full time, however. One every other night has been enough to keep the chill out of the cabin. Anything more would drive me out of the building from the heat. As it is, an evening fire requires at least one open window at these temps.


Holly crowned Fattest Bear

youtu.be/PjfiX31Ehko

Holly, also known as Bear #435, outweighed Lefty in voters minds to win Fat Bear Week.

Watching the video, I think it’s safe to say that Holly put away a lot of salmon this summer.


Battle of the Bruins

Holly: Bear #435

It’s Championship Tuesday at Katmai National Park. Lefty and Holly emerged from the belly battle to face each other for the much coveted “Fattest Bear of Katmai”.

Lefty: Bear #775

Voting takes place on the Katmai National Park F/B page. Send your favorite some love before they head off into hibernation.

Photos credit: Katmai National Park & Preserve


Season’s first snow

First snow on the new beaver lodge

We had the first snowfall of the season on Saturday. Some areas had a few flurries in the air previously, but this is the first one that stuck.

On average, we see our first snow by September 30, and our first snowfall of at least an inch by October 6. So overall, I’d say we are right in the snow median this autumn.


Lurking for salmon

Photo by Robert Hawthorne

Since we’re in the middle of Katmai Week here between The Circles, I wanted to share this photo, although probably not for the reasons many would think.

The pic above was taken of two fishermen in Katmai National Park. I’ve found myself in a similar situation while fishing Alaska’s rivers. Once was with my Dad, which was more nerve-wracking than when I was solo! Forget the bear, I was worried about how my Dad would react.

What I love about this picture, from all my time in Alaska, is that the bear actually has little to no interest in the fishermen. The bear simply has salmon on its mind. We don’t have two fishermen in the picture, but three.

If given half the chance, man can live with wildlife. The two species above, can coexist. Katmai NP&P is a prime example of that. I would hope that is the lesson the photograph has to give. After all, Alaska would be a much poorer place without her bears.

The photo was taken in July by Robert Hawthorne, a photographer out of Bozeman, Montana. His link is below:

https://roberthawthornephotography.com/


Fat Bear Week: Elite Eight

Katmai Bracketology

Voting for the Fattest Bear of Katmai continues over at the Katmai National Park & Preserve Facebook page.

In round one, fan fave Otis went down to Lefty, in an upset. Divot, Grazer and #909 also moved into the second round. There is some large competition waiting for them, as Wide-Body #747, Holly, Chunk and #503 had first round byes, and could continue hoarding calories, as they watched their fellow bears compete.

Hibernation is big business.

Bracket credit: Katmai NP&P


Panorama of Fort Niagara

The layout of Fort Niagara

Camera: Widelux FVI; Film: Kodak 35mm, TMax100


Fat Bear Week

Katmai National Park & Preserve once again enter October Madness with their Fat Bear Week bracket.

Voting starts today, October 2, with Lefty taking on fan favorite Otis.

Four bears of Katmai have used their extensive girth to get a well earned bye: Chunk, the wide body #747, #503, and Holly.

Beadnose, or Bear #409

Surprisingly, Beadnose, the 2018 winner, did not make this year’s cut. So there will be no repeat champion.

The new winner will be crowned on Fat Bear Tuesday, October 8.

Katmai Bracketology

All images courtesy of Katmai National Park & Preserve


Fort Niagara via Widelux

The view from the wall

On my last visit to the east coast, I drove out to Fort Niagara, which overlooks the mouth of the Niagara River. I have already written about the historic fort in a previous post.

I brought my Widelux panoramic camera along for the visit, and I have a few photos that I thought I’d share. The scans turned out okay, but I have to say I really like the massive 4″x12″ prints.

The French Castle

Camera: Widelux FVI; Film: Kodak 35mm, TMax100


Pick out the ptarmigan

Hint: There are seven ptarmigan in the rocks

Photo credit: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve