OK, Not Really

AWCC-Brown bear up close

Brown bear, a little close for comfort

…just bears at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center!

Much of the drive to the wildlife center is along the inlet. Imposing and majestic mountain peaks outline the inlet and the cliffs alongside the highway are scattered with marshes, meadows and waterfalls.

Once at the center you can either drive through the refuge or get out of your car and walk on a gravel road that winds throughout.

AWCC-Elk at feeding time

Elk at rest

The highlight for us was the bear walk. You can walk along a raised walk that goes over the brown bear and the black bear habitats. We arrived in time for the bear feeding and were able to watch the guide throw fresh salmon and crabapples to the bears below the walk. The refuge caretakers were extremely friendly. They explained the differences between the brown bears and black bears, and some of their behaviors. They also allowed us to ask as many questions as we wanted when they were through.

AWCC-Brown is territorial

Territorial overlord

At one point I was one foot away from a bear and could have reached out to touch it (through a barbed wire fence with an electric fence behind that)! Still, it was exhilarating! Besides the bear, there are foxes, lynx, wood bison, moose and more.

The refuge’s center is about 20 minutes past Girdwood. ¬†Girdwood is home of Alyeska Ski Resort and some of the prettiest neighborhoods in Alaska, in my opinion. It is also very close to Portage Glacier so you can see several Alaskan highlights within very close proximity to one another.

AWCC-Brown bear

Brown surveys

Tip: If you plan on seeing all three, start early!

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Written by Laurel on September 29th, 2014 - Adventures, Places

Alaskan Chalet @ Jade Lake

Memories of our time with Alaska