Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dumpling Mountain on a clear day

 I got really lucky yesterday and had a day off on a beautiful, clear day!  That does not happen often.  So I took advantage of it and climbed up Dumpling Mountain which is the small (2400ft) mountain just behind Brooks Camp.  From the top, you can see all (or most of) Naknek Lake, the fourth largest lake in Alaska!  One of our radio repeaters is at the summit, so you can tell you're at the top by hiking to the repeater.  My co-worker, Anna, and I did run into one bear up there.  It was a cute, sub-adult bear that was limping.  It was not putting any weight on its right, front paw.  We wondered how it got injured, but we did not get close enough for a good look.  He/she was just munching away on the crowberries that are so prevalent this time of year.  The bears eat so many of them that their scat turns a purplish-black color.  I myself am holing out for the blueberries that should be ready for picking later this month. 
fireweed in bloom with Mt. Mageik volcano in the distance
Jeanette atop Mt. Dumpling with Naknek Lake in the background

our radio repeater

Naknek Lake - notice the glacial terminal moraine and the beautiful turquoise color of the water

The Savonoski Loop

a very calm Lake Grovesnor
 The Savonoski Loop is an 80-mile canoe/kayak trip that takes you through Naknek Lake to the Bay of Islands.  Once there you have a 1.5 mile portage to Lake Grovesnor.  You then paddle across Lake Grovesnor to the Grovesnor River which dumps you out on the Savonoski River, a braided, glacial river with lots of bears!  The Savonoski then dumps you back out into the Iliuk Arm of Naknek Lake where you can paddle back to Brooks Camp.  My three co-workers and I did about half the trip on our three-day weekend.  We had beautiful, calm weather - great for paddling.  We saw about 10 bears the whole trip including one that was sniffing Kara and Jenny's tent one night.  On the Savonoski River, we came upon a gravel bar that had 5 bears on it!  Exciting?  Yes, but also a bit scary.  It's very challenging having to paddle around growling bears.  The Savonoski Loop is I think my favorite thing to do at Katmai National Park.  It takes you to a beautiful part of our park that not many people get to see.  I love it!
our campsite on Spruce Island

our campsite on an island on Lake Grovesnor

serene Lake Grovesnor

lunchtime on the Grovesnor River

view from Spruce Island looking towards the Savonoski River

The Savonoski River

Sean kayaking

Sean watching sunset on Lake Grovesnor