OMG was it incredible! We were out of the tundra buggy launch pad by 9:00a and within a mile or so, we experienced our first bear. He was very close to the path, on a slightly elevated lakeshore. When we first pulled up he was just laying there, but it was clear they are very curious animals. He lifted his head and looked over at us several times. Seemingly bored with us, he started to roll around in the snow bring about the first oooohhhhs and aaawwwwws of our two days on the tundra.
From there, the day only got better as we had a very active morning of bear viewing . . . including a momma and two cubs. At first they were completely out of sight, but someone on the buggy noticed the movement in the willows. Out appeared the mom. As though that wasn't good enough, up popped a cub head . . . and then the second. The momma enjoyed sliding down the hill as her babies watched. One came out almost immediately, while the other seemed a bit more timid. Eventually he too came out, although he seemed to lag behind and had to run often to catch up when mom was ready to move.
Having heard on the radio that there were a couple of bears along the freezing Hudson Bay, we made our way over to where another company's buggy was perched. There was one big boy right on the shore of the Hudson Bay, which you could see starting to freeze up behind him. From time to time he could be seen munching on some old dried up sea kelp that had washed up onto the shore. Like the bears before him, while he laid around for some amount of time, he did become restless . . . standing up . . . turning over . . . and yawning before laying back down.
This was where we stayed for our tundra picnic lunch. It was a beautiful spot to watch the bears while we enjoyed our lunch of hot soup, sandwich and apple pastry (catered by Gypsy's).
On our trek back in towards the buggy launch area, we stopped in at the Great White Bear Lodge, the tundra camp for those who want to live out with the bears during their stay in Churchill. There were a couple of bears in and around the camp, but one seemed to only have mischief on his mind. It was funny watching him pace under the food car, trying to figure out how to get up there even if just for a closer look at what smelled so good. I've posted a photo with this entry of him up on his hind legs trying to see in.
On Monday's bear adventure we saw 16 bears, probably "about average" for this time of the bear season. Everyone agreed, it was a wonderful day!!