Anan Creek, Alaska

We’re still in the extreme heat wave here, with temperatures daily in the 100-105F range. Adding in the humidity factor, our comfort index has been registering between 103-115F … not too conducive for outdoor photography! Not only is it uncomfortable for me, but the wildlife activity slows to a crawl also. And kayaking conditions are not very good right now; due to the extreme heat and lack of rain, the waterways I frequent are either inaccessible or not worth the fight right now. So, starting today, I’ll be sharing some photos and experiences I had 5 years ago along the Inside Passage of Alaska … a refreshing thought during these hot times!

Currently, I’m preparing for my upcoming Alaska photo workshop. In preparing for this adventure, one of the things I am doing is reviewing my last visit to this area. I find that doing this little task before any photo trip tends to greatly enhance my photography. There are several things I look at:  (1) see what shots I got during the last trip and think about new shots I’d like to capture (my “shot list”), (2) review my past images and the shooting conditions and camera settings I used then (3) identify different camera settings I’d like to use during the upcoming trip, and (4) get myself psyched into “the zone” so I will be at my best when we get there! So, while prepping for this trip, I’ll share some of these experiences with you.

Today’s post features Anan Creek, a popular place to visit for black bear photography and bear watching. Anan Creek is located in the Tongass National Forest, along Alaska’s Inside Passage, in the general vicinity of Wrangell, Alaska. As the boat reaches Anan Creek, the first thing visible is the “floating USFS HQ building” (with the building out in the bay, there are less bear visitors!):


Ranger HQ at Anan Creek



One of the first things you notice is the multitude of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) that reside in the Sitka Spruce trees of Anan Creek:


Bald Eagles fill the Sitka Spruce trees at Anan Creek



After taking our skiff to shore, we meet a USFS agent. We get a quick update on trail conditions and a bear report, then we’re off for a short hike along Anan Creek. As we hike the trail, it is not uncommon to have a bear approach us on the trail, passing within a few feet of us as we step off the trail for him:


Black Bear on the trails at Anan Creek


As we reach the Anan Creek Bear Observatory, black bears are seen wandering everywhere. In the next posts, I’ll share some of the black bears and other wildlife seen from the Observatory.

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