We’ll be returning to Silver Salmon Creek Lodge this July. This pristine place on the west shore of Cook Inlet about 150 miles from Anchorage features some of the finest bear photography anywhere.

The lodge severely restricts the number of attendees (so no jostling with crowds). For this adventure, we fly in the morning by bushplane (bushplane transport included in fee) about 150 miles from Anchorage to the Lake Clark National Park area, one of the most beautiful corners of Alaska. The region teems with wildlife. We stay in a home-like setting, with all modern amenities (including gourmet food, with accommodations made for special dietary needs) and a sweeping view of the muddy, tidal shores of Cool Inlet. Experienced guides well-versed in bear behaviors will be with us throughout our excursions, which can take place from dawn until dusk. Weather permitting, we’ll also be making a boat trip to nearby islands loaded with nesting puffins, colorful birds nicknamed “sea clowns.” Often, sea otters frolic in nearby waters.

The bears here are especially photogenic, as many have light brown fur coats. Also, if there are cubs (and we’ll be there at the right time of year for newborns), they sometimes like to ride on Mama’s back. This is also the time when male bears vie for dominance. The bears, although wild, are fairly acclimated to humans, as they are not hunted in this area. These beautiful animals–always to be respected–have their own personalities.They’re a joy to watch and photograph. At Lake Clark we don’t work with blinds or viewing platforms as we don’t need them.

We travel via an ATV pulling little trailers that gets us out to the prime bear viewing areas. Even so, some walking is involved, sometimes in mud. Rain can be expected, so it’s important to bring raingear, warm clothing and comfortable rubber boots. The lodge provides boots in most sizes. Summer temperatures are typically in the 50s and 60s F.

You’ll want a telephoto lens (300mm to 500mm or more) and likely a tripod or good quality monopod. A backup camera might be a good idea, as camera malfunctions can happen. And definitely bring plenty of cards. Don’t forget an extra battery or too along with charger.

You’ll need to arrive in Anchorage at least a day early, as we fly out at 9 a.m. (weather permitting).

There’s much more to see in Alaska. I suggest spending a few extra days before or after the bear trip exploring the Anchorage area. Anchorage’s Museum of Fine Arts offers spectacular displays of arts in many mediums, often showcasing Alaska Native artistry. 500,000-acre Chugach State Park forms a mountainous backdrop to the city and features great tundra hiking, as does Hatcher Pass, about an hour’s drive from Anchorage. Portage Lake and Glacier offer looks at ancient glacial ice and mighty peaks. The Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward offers great photo ops; you can practically touch the puffins. You’ll need a car to get around to most of these destinations.

I’m requesting a $1000 deposit when you sign up, and then the balance of $5000 due April 1, 2023. Not included in price: commercial airline travel to/from Anchorage, Anchorage hotels, and gratuities for local guide and kitchen staff. Only three spots left.