Bears of The McNeil River

by Mark Hardgrave

"Teddy and Tuffy" waking up from an afternoon nap next to the upper viewing pad at McNeil river in Alaska.  Our ranger Polly Hessing watches the bears as the rest of us fire off so many shots our motordrives are smoking.  To the right is my 300 mm lens, which at this point is too close to photograph them.  Phot taken with Nikon N-90, Nikkor 35-70, Fuji Provia film.  There is no place in the world where you can get this close to brown bears in the wild.  Still gives me a rush when I look back at these pics.

AS they wake up from their nap. the bears walk by within 2 feet from the edge of the viewing pad.  In the book "River of Bears" by Tom Walker and Larry Aumiller, you will see photos like this.  Almost every visitor to McNeil usually gets to see "Teddy" with her cubs this close.  It is not unusual to see "Teddy" nurse her cubs just a few feet from the viewing pad.  Nikon N-90, Nikkor 35-70. Fuji Provia film.

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