Bears are everywhere. Chichagof Island has the highest concentration of brown bears in America. Kuiu island has an extremely high concentration of black bears. On a good day you see lots of little furry butts running away from you into the undergrowth. Watching bears fish from salmon-choked streams or snacking on blueberries in a clearcut is a wonder.
Ever felt the hair raise on the back of your neck? You body knows there's a bear around before the non-lizard portion of your brain figures it out.
Eagles are the symbol of our country. Soaring above the clouds, clutching things like arrows and a 'murican flag. They will swarm the beaches when the herring spawn washes up on the shore. They will cackle and fight over scraps of bear-torn salmon. In the movies, they always foley the sound of a red tailed hawk over the eagle.
These two very rugged, very majestic symbols of Alaska are hightly sought by the frillions of tourists. In Yakutat, the prime bear and eagle viewing is at the dump. The. Dump. (I should tell you, now, that they named all the dump bears in Hoonah. The largest, fattest, meanest boar was named Welfare.)
While we were there, observing the wildlife at the dump, one of assertive male bears chased of a less-than dominant male bear. There are 3 bears in the above photo, one is hidden on a pile of debris in the upper left in the photo.
You can see the hidden bear a bit better here. (s)he was waiting for the premium garbage to be chucked into the pit.
This guy was the meanest of them all.
Magical. This is really what Alaska is all about. Watching the bears a the dump. It's not all nature loving and rugged individualism here. No matter what you hear.