Alaska is one of the most volcanically active landmasses on earth, like clay in a kiln. It is constantly being fired and re-fired.
Today, this valley of distraction is one of the many attractions of Katmai National Park, located in southern Alaska on a peninsula, 290 miles southwest of Anchorage, is a preserve of wilderness. Roughly the size of a country whale. Once this had been a valley of beauty, and abundance for thousands of years native people had dwelt down its fertile slopes. Life was good here than in the year 1912 a volcano called “Novarupta” erupted, dumping ash and pumice of rock into the valley. The explosion was heard 700 miles away in Juneau – and ash falls is far away as Texas, clouds abash blocked out the sun and just hours after the first blast this valley was buried under 700 feet of volcanic matter.
Scientists came and explored what had become known as the “Valley of 10,000 smokes” as protection against poison gas still seeping through the ash both men and dogs wear gas masks, they discover that the valley is cooling. Today the valley is safe for park visitors, and away from the desolate valley Katmai National Park shimmers with life and color. Located at the base of a peninsula edged with bays and fjords, sea Cliff cast shadows over golden beaches and Katmai sparkles with jewel like lakes, and sheltered by mountains.
You will find Moses tracking the shores, waterfowl call across the water and At Brooks Falls, when the salmon run mid-July, people come from all around the world to watch the Brown Bears catch fish. Alaskan brown bears are the world largest carnivores, a male bear cub could go to 10 feet in length and weigh over a thousand pounds, skillful hunters and intelligent. The Brown Bears at Katmai National Park are not afraid of people, so while traveling make sure to keep your distance.
The time of salmon attracts hundreds of fishermen and visitors from around the world per year but it is always the bears that stakeout the best fishing spots. These waters abound with salmon that must wriggle up over the falls to spawn upstream.
People that come to fish develop a healthy respect for these bruins, at Katmai National Park the Bears have the right-of-way, cubs learn how to catch fish from the mother, some become more skillful than others, those who haven’t made a catch try to steel from those that have. Bigger bears try playing tricks with other to grab their catch, by confronting others with challenging growls and if they growl back they’ll drop their fish and the big fella will grab them. Ultimately, some will go hungry and some will eat and the seagulls will feed on the remaining. Katmai is defiantly one in a life time experience and if you are ever in Alaska make sure to visit it.
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