Floating the Kulik


Shortly before closing the lodge this season, a few of us decided to fly to Katmai National Park to float the Kulik, a 1-1/2 mile stretch of river connecting Nonvianuk Lake with the smaller Kulik Lake upstream. (Click on the map for more detail)


THE FLIGHT TO KULIK.  Only from the air can one appreciate the magnitude of Alaska and the diversity and grandeur of its landscape.


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Nonvianuk Lake plays host to thousands of Sockeye salmon, many of whom spawn in the narrow stream en route to Kulik Lake, their final resting place.  The spent salmon attract local bears and the spawned roe attract trout that, in turn, attract fishermen from afar.  For a good part of the fishing season, man and beast stand shoulder to shoulder – often only feet apart – aware of each other, yet unconcerned, as they share a common goal – ‘landing the big one.’

Floating the KulikHere you can see just how awkward shooting from a 2-man raft can be – particularly when it’s not only difficult to control the raft, but hold the lens steady at a very uncomfortable angle.  My only thought was to land myself….but where?

A top day with David, Oliver and Lisle.  Thanks!!





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  1. Char Webster November 11, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    Great captures! Especially like the texture and colors of the bears in the grass, although the ones of a bear with a salmon in its mouth are pretty amazing as well.

  2. David Coray November 11, 2013 at 2:03 am #

    As a member of that short float, I can attest to its beauty and the thrilling adventure it offered. Amidst a mix of bears and salmon, the sense that you are truly imbedded in Alaska’s grandeur is palpable. Bears and humans are joined in a common effort to procure fish, the bears for sustenance and the humans for sport but it brings them in such close proximity, that a “natural pact” of tolerance is reached, the result being often only a few yards separating man from beast. The day was truly a memorable one!

  3. Phyllis Burchett November 11, 2013 at 5:55 am #

    How cool, what a fabulous experience this must have been….I know you guys see this
    every day but still very cool. Did I say I was envious….well I am! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Tommy Rodgers November 11, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    Rick, what great images. The time that I have spent at the lodge with you, David, Oliver, Joanne. and the rest of gang are among the best of life. Thanks to all for sharing this wonderful trip and the images.

  5. Ron Niebrugge November 11, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

    Hey Rick! Had the pleasure of seeing your photos and hearing the stories in person – what a great trip – love the images!!

  6. Sue Cullumber November 28, 2013 at 1:56 am #

    Wow amazing – beautiful photos and location! Would love to see this someday!

    • rickcollins51 November 28, 2013 at 5:03 am #

      Hey Sue, another unique place! Hope to see it again myself one day. Thanks for the comment.

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