Once the temperature (and mosquito count!) started rising in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this June, there was only one destination on my mind: Alaska!
Having been unable to make it to Alaska these past two years due to Canada's border being closed (COVID), I've been looking forward to making the long drive once again to Southeast Alaska.
A bit grumbly because of sky-high gas prices, I left Jackson Hole mid June to start the 1,573 mile (or 2531 km) drive to the closest place in Alaska you can drive to: the small town of Hyder.
Well, for one, it's a beautiful place. Located both at the ocean and in the mountains, the scenery is amazing.
Welcome to Hyder
Snow-covered mountains, multiple glaciers, the ocean, a rainforest jungle ... Hyder has it all.
More importantly for my wildlife photography, however, Hyder has several creeks where salmon return annually to spawn. This in turn attracts multiple grizzly bears, black bears, bald eagles, river otters, wolves, etc. who come to feed on the salmon.
Fish Creek is located a few miles outside of Hyder, Alaska, and this is where all the action occurs.
The U.S. Forest Service platform that allows for safe bear viewing at Fish Creek
The creek has three salmon runs that occur during the summer and fall: first, any time in July, the chum (also called dog) salmon arrive in the creek. In early August, the pink (also called humpy) salmon arrive. Later in September or early October, the coho (also called silver) salmon arrive.
This year, the chum salmon have been slow to trickle in. At the time of writing, however, there are a good number of chum in the river with more on the way. And, the first pinks have also started to arrive.
Long story short: the salmon are here and so are the bears, wolves and eagles!
Here are a few of my favorites.
Grizzly caught a female Chum salmon
Grizzly struggles to catch a Chum salmon
Grizzly takes a bite out of a female Chum salmon and the eggs come spilling out
Stay tuned for more images and stories (with hopefully a happy ending) as I look for bears and wolves to photograph in and around the salmon-filled streams!
If you want to learn more about Hyder, check out my article on "The Best Places to See and Photograph Grizzly Bears" that was published by Destination:Wildlife in 2020: click here for the article which includes Hyder.
Are you interested in learning how your camera works and how to take wildlife images?