September 18th, 2006 – by: marg_eric
We pass the border to the USA, to Hyder Alaska. It is a small village really in the middle of nowhere, just one road with some houses, a post office and a campground. We reserve a spot at the (still empty) Run-a-Muck Campground and drive further to the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site. This is an area in the Salmon River valley up the road from Hyder. The internet-information about the site tells us:
The Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site is a day-use recreation area in the Salmon River valley near Hyder, Alaska. It is operated by the U.S. Forest Service.
Both brown (grizzly) and black bears are easily observed or photographed at the site as they fish for chum and pink salmon in the clear shallow waters of Fish Creek and Marx Creek. Enjoy the thrill of seeing wild bears in their natural habitat in this beautiful glacial river valley. Other wildlife frequently seen include nesting Canada geese, harlequin ducks, common mergansers, mink, beaver, bald eagles, and a wide variety of songbirds. Bears use the site from mid-July through early September, following the arrival of salmon which return to the fresh waters of the creeks to spawn. The site is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm daily. Forest Service employees are at the site during these hours to provide information about the bears and salmon, enforce site rules, and answer questions from visitors. Facilities include a small parking area and an elevated viewing platform set in a grove of trees along the bank of Fish Creek. Bears and salmon can also be seen from the shoulders of the Salmon River Road and from a dike that separates Fish Creek and Marx Creek.
Visitors to the site should be aware that bears frequently walk on the road, through the parking lot, and along the dike. They are often very close to people. Remember that these are wild bears! Please respect their need for space in which to move between feeding areas and to avoid confrontations with more dominant bears. Move back and give them room to pass by if they approach, and follow the directions of on-site staff who help direct visitors to appropriate viewing areas.
We see a black bear as we carefully walk from the car park to the viewing platform. People talk about a grizzly mum with 3 cubs who have been coming here a few times before. We have to wait for an hour for them to appear. We had almost given up hope of seeing them. But in the end it was great to be so close to the bears and seeing them in their natural habitat. We are lucky because the bear come to the river to eat the all present salmon. Back at the run-a-Muck Campground we share a campfire and some beers with our new German neighbors. We had a fantastic day!