Posts tagged with "brown bear"

Croatia’s Natural Habitat Adventures

The planet’s leader in sustainable nature travel, Natural Habitat Adventures, has launched its newest trip, Wild Croatia by Land & Sea, a 10-day Adriatic adventure designed to go beyond the standard cruise and motor coach vacation and explore Croatia’s most secluded mountains, forests and islands in an intimate, small group setting. 

Join two naturalist Expedition Leaders for a personalized, 12-person journey that begins with birdwatching with a local ornithologist in Lonjsko Polje Nature Park, the largest protected wetland in the entire Danube Basin. Enjoy wilderness walking in Plitvice Lakes National Park, noted for its turquoise travertine pools, 321 butterfly species and shy population of 50 endangered European brown bears. Then step aboard Fortuna, a private, 108-foot mahogany yacht, for an exclusive sailing among the Dalmatian Coast’s 1,100+ islands and reefs. Take in the splendid Mediterranean scenery while sea kayaking the shores of secluded limestone islands, each with its own unique offering of sheltered coves, tranquil caves, private beaches and dolphin populations.

Croatia’s ancient seaside towns and temperate climate set the stage for cultural tours and culinary discoveries. Explore Split’s Old Town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – with an expert guide. Stroll through Vis, a tiny 5,000-year-old town replete with wild rosemary, sage, olive groves and lemon orchards, stopping at a farmhouse for a dinner of peka (a Dalmatian delicacy of vegetables, lamb and octopus roasted in an open fire). In the seaside town of Jelsia, sample the wares of a winemaker who is leading the area’s viticulture renaissance of indigenous varietals, and enjoy a farm-to-table garden feast with a local family who has lived on the island for generations.

Wild Croatia by Land & Sea runs September 5-14 and October 3-12, 2019, with per person double rates starting at USD $8,995 (add $4,495 for single supplement). All activities, accommodations, entrance fees, taxes, permits and service fees are included, along with two Expedition Leaders and local guiding, and most meals, gratuities, and airport/train station transfers.

Chilko Lake in BC

The end of summer heralds one of nature’s most enjoyable spectator sports – brown bear watching in British Columbia.

From mid-September and into October, the Chilko River hosts one of the region’s most dramatic salmon runs that in turn attracts furry visitors who wander in to dine on a veritable feast of spawning Sockeye.

Meet the Chilko Lake grizzly bear (Ursus arctos ssp.), a large subspecies of the North American Brown Bear. Adult female grizzlies weigh around 290–400 lbs., and adult males about 400–790 lbs. with an average length of 6.50 ft.

The congregation of hungry bears can number up to 100 or so, providing a visual feast for human visitors to this remote region who are hungry to see one of Nature’s annual spectacles.

Proprietors and owners of The Chilko Experience, Phil and Anne Huston, satisfy guest appetites with friendly hospitality, complete privacy and wholesome fun in the wilderness on their private estate. Plus, they ferry their guests onto the river in boats that are positioned to witness the feeding frenzy — but at a safe distance.

These bears are concentrated on a three-mile river segment beginning at the river’s mouth and extending downstream, an area where in some years the salmon numbers exceed one million. The result is that the Chilko River has some of the finest bear viewing anywhere in North America. The reason for this concentration is that the river is located deep within the BC interior and is the only salmon-feeding option for bears within a 200-mile radius. While there may be more bears located along the coast, with the many feeding options that exist, they are more dispersed and harder to observe.

Phil Huston explains that most viewing is done by low-draft river boats with experienced guides who know to stay at least 50 meters away from the bears in order not to stress them.

“Of particular interest are the mother bears and cubs. Two cubs are common but families of three are seen also. Photographers from around the world come to Chilko to seek the perfect brown bear photo,” he says.

While the bear get to feast, fishing for salmon on the Chilko River is restricted to all but those of First Nations decent. “However, the salmon spawn draws large rainbow trout populations that challenge and reward both the novice and experienced angler,” Huston notes.

Only 12 guests a week (up to 22 if they’re extended friends and family) have the privilege of lodging on the estate in the six custom log and timber frame homes that took center stage on HGTV’s Timber Kings a few years back. Today these one and two-bedroom, artisan-crafted dwellings continue to delight visitors whom their hosts welcome like family to their exclusive estate. Each unique home shares common features: oversized windows for maximum natural light, stone floors, hand-beveled denim (blue toned pine) ceilings, steel roofs, all tastefully furnished with antiques. Anne Huston, a long-time antique dealer, has adorned these classic homes with many of her collectibles. See: https://thechilkoexperience.com/log-homes/

This season (June 1 through Oct. 21), it’s fun as usual fly and spin cast fishing, canoeing, lake cruising, horseback riding and four-wheeling in the never-ending (five million acres) forests of native pine, splashed by the world-famous Chilko River and Chilko Lake. Complimentary guided activities are conducted directly from the estate. Optional river rafting and guided fly-fishing outings come with an extra fee.

Rates per person for this boutique and all-inclusive hospitality are based on the number of nights. Children ages 6 and under lodge free. Ages 7 to12 visit at the half-adult rate. Singles are accommodated in the Main House with no additional single supplement charge. A per person three-night stay is $2,950 and a six-night stay $5,950. See: https://thechilkoexperience.com/rates/

Most guests access the Chilko valley via private charter flights originating in Vancouver, BC. The flight time is one hour. Guests can also fly commercially to Williams Lake and then drive three hours to the estate. From Vancouver it’s a 10-hour drive.

About The Chilko Experience

The estate is a charter member of The Austin Collection and a member of the Mantis Collection, Villas of Distinction and the Chilko Operators Association. The staff practice sustainability, including recycling, at every level. A 48-panel, 12 K solar system generates 98 percent of the estate’s energy needs. On premise are a greenhouse and a 140-foot freshwater well. The abundant water supplies are all based on glacier and snow melt, so pure that residents can drink right from the lakes and streams.