McNeil River 2017 – Last Day

Departure day. A new group is here and our  group of 10 will be leaving this afternoon. We can see bears through the window of the cook shack, and there are more out on the flats, but no longer will we get to sit within stretching distance of them, listen to them crunch salmon skulls, snarl warnings to one another or watch them plunge into a school of circling fish.

Some of us took a short walk down the beach at low tide. The cliffs here are interesting, comprised of layers of river rock loosely accreted with sediment. I guess there’s been a river here for a very long time!  They’re fairly porous, with round pockets where stones were once lodged, and huge scalloped depressions along the bank where the cliffs have been eroded. This is what we walked next to, at low tide, going to and from the Falls. At high tide these same depressions are nearly submerged, but the rest of the time they form little mini-caves that one can use while waiting for bears to pass 

We saw a few bears clamming and chasing salmon in the tidal flats during our walk, and a few more while we ate lunch. Our last sighting before boarding the Otter was of a lone bear sleeping on the spit of land that separates the lagoon from the Inlet. 

Waiting on the spit for our plane
The July 5-8, 2017 Group
Headed back to civilization


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