Day 3: The Magic of Warm Springs Bay

Baranof Island

It’s a misty morning and minus tide in Warm Springs Bay on Baranof Island. The water has receded back along the shoreline, revealing the ocean floor and some of its hidden critters. This enclave is even more beautiful in the light, a place on the edge of the world forgotten by time.

Once again the team splits up. Andy takes David and Reka for a kayak ride along Baranof Lake, a glacially-fed horseshoe-shaped body of water that runs 3-miles long. After a bumbling start and a launch without oars, they spend the entire day floating along, soaking in the scenery until the sun starts to sink and their empty stomachs signal it's time to return.

Meanwhile, the film crew takes the skiff out to see if they can spot any more brown bears. The Sitka Brown bear is not exactly elusive round these parts but they appear to be avoiding the shore. Admiralty, Baranoff and Chichagoff (the ABC islands) have the densest population of a brown bear subspecies called the Sitka brown bear. In fact, they say on Admiralty island alone (named “Kootznoowoo” which means Fortress of the Bear in Tingit), there is a three-to-one bear to human ratio, more brown bears than the entire lower 48 states combined. To Soren and Taylor's chagrin, they don't have any luck.

While the others are adventuring, Kate and I take the trail up to check out the hot springs, tucked back way behind the houses and overlooking the thundering falls. There are two hot pools for soaking, and we pop back between both until we’re pickled, overheated and deliriously relaxed.

After dinner, while some of us are packing up the field station, we have the Sitka bear sighting we were hoping for. As I'm leaving the station, looking for the other members of the group, I come face to face with an adolescent male on the boardwalk. I scream "BEAR!" like I've been instructed only to be hushed by Andy and the others trailing behind undetected. They are filming the lumbering giant sharing the walkway with us. He's terrifying and magnificent at once. We follow him as he makes his way past the row of houses, and down onto the rocky shoreline, searching for one last late night snack.

Join the movement

Sign up for our mailing list:
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.