Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Grizzly viewing, Tweedsmuir Park, British Columbia

Sow Grizzly on the Atnarko River in Tweedsmuir Park
 This September we hopped in our car for a road trip to Bella Coola, on the central coast in BC.  It took us 14 hours to make the drive from Vancouver (after our 1.5 hour ferry ride from Victoria).  We were headed to see Grizzly bears fishing for salmon on the Atnarko river, courtesy of the Belarko Wildlife Viewing Platform in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, about 1 hour from Bella Coola.

Here's a photo of the wildlife viewing platform.  Guess who's behind the electric fence this time...? ... luckily, us humans!!  Lots of serious photographers with big lenses.

We didn't see any Grizzlies the first evening we arrived.  On the second day we saw a bear in the distance fishing on the river.  However, on the third day, we were fortunate to see a female with her chubby cub fishing and sauntering on her way up the river past our vantage point.

As she came close we managed to get a better and better view of big Momma (my what huge claws you have!)

She came right up close to our location, and then feasted on salmon as she nonchalantly floated across the river to the far bank.
Here's Momma Grizzly with a freshly caught Coho salmon

This is beautiful, wild country and it's a real privilege to have a chance to watch Grizzly bears feeding so close and in - relative - safety!  Many thanks to the Provincial Park staff and volunteers who make the Belarko Wildlife Viewing Platform such an amazing experience!

This is the stunning view down the Atnarko river from the viewing platform.
River guides take groups floating down the Atnarko river --
but it is a costly venture!
It's a long drive but well worth it... the Cariboo in the interior of BC provides some more amazing scenery.  Here's a view of the Fraser River just west of Williams Lake on the road to Bella Coola.