During our 8 hour bus ride, each of the 42
passengers played look-out. If you saw an animal, you were
supposed to yell "Stop!". The bus would stop and we would be very
quiet while everyone took pictures. If an animal were in the
middle of the road, we had to wait to drive on until after the animal
exited the roadway. The reason for this was that we didn't want to
teach the bears to get used to humans or the human voice. Our
driver explained that the human voice is our only weapon against
grizzlies in Denali. If a bear approaches you, you are supposed to
make yourself appear bigger than you are by raising your arms and
yelling at the bear (such as "Hey Bear!") in an authoritative voice.
If bears get used to human voices, it will remove our most important
defense against bear attack. Also, you are not supposed to run.
Of course, people will joke and say they just have to run faster than
their slower companions but our driver quickly corrected that theory.
If you run but your companions don't run, the bear will chase you and
your companions will walk away unscathed. (Note that we
don't plan to test that theory. Seeing a bear from the safety of
the bus was as close as we wanted to get.)
We saw 11 grizzly bears, which almost matched our
driver's record of seeing 13 bears in a single day. We spoke with
another couple staying at the McKinley lodge and even though they toured
the park the same day as we did, they didn't see any bears. So
were were very lucky.
When we first entered the deeper section of the
park, we encountered a mother grizzly and her two yearling cubs. One
little fella kept laying down in front of the bus. We LOVED it!
Click on a picture for a clearer view of