We walked on boardwalks through dense woods to a platform surrounded by a low fence. The instructions were: Do not get off the walk!!
Along the way a female grizzly was asleep in our path. The ranger threw stones that landed with a racket on the boards right in front of her. She sluggishly moved a few feet and settled down next to a tree. After several more attempts to dislodge her, he pulled out an airhorn and shouted at her. One glance at the airhorn and she bolted for the river. How ironic that we needed to scare away a bear so we could get to the viewing platform, so we could watch bears!
Many of the bears were mothers with cubs, sometimes with last year's cub still tagging along. The salmon were running and the bears stuffed themselves. Not all bears are talented, some stood in the water for twenty minutes, one fish after another slipping from their grasp, while others simply walked into the water and returned, mouth clamped over a salmon. The bears prefer to eat the fatty head, so there were dozens of Bald Eagles cleaning up the remainders.
To get to the Anan Bear & Wildlife Observatory, you take a 6 hour r/t boat ride and tour from Wrangell, Alaska. We stayed at the Alaskan Sourdough Lodge, a wonderful place with delicious breakfasts. Another attraction is the Shakes House, a traditional Tlingit family lodge with carved totem poles inside and out. In town, the fresh halibut fish and chips were out of this world!