Deep in the Alaska backcountry, photographer Jeff Marsh goes in search of grizzlies and adventure.
Denali Grizzly Encounter Journal Entry:
On June 25, we took the park bus deep into Denali National Park. We were assigned a zone to camp (31) by the rangers. We had our bus driver drop is off at Polychrome Pass lookout. Because there are no trails in the park, we literally just headed straight into the wilderness, looking for a peak to climb and to camp on. It was pouring and swampy, with wild banshee mosquitoes. We were soaked. We stopped for a quick breather when I spotted a massive grizzly bear on the hillside far above us. We watched as he made his way down the hill towards us. We backed off a bit, and he continued to follow us, getting within a couple hundred yards of us. He seemed very interested in us and kept moving in so we picked up our speed. All of a sudden a full-grown moose came bolting out of the bushes about 75 feet from us. He got startled by the bear and scared the crap out of us. We thought the bear was following us but was in fact sniffing out the moose. We found ourselves in the middle of a big game hunt. Thankfully the moose took off quickly and the bear was quite lazy and turned around. This all lasted about an hour. We had our bear spray out, Caleb's hatchet, bear bells, 23 cameras and were making plenty of noise, but it definitely had our attention. Thankfully we had watched the mandatory safety video 2 hours before, so we knew how to handle ourselves properly. #ChasingBears14 quickly turned into #RunningFromBears14.