AK Mom’s Annual Zen at Hallo Bay Wilderness Camp

Hallo Bay Wilderness Camp on the shores of Katmai National Park.

It is, perhaps, a great irony that someplace so full of raw, untouched wildness, life, and death could be the very setting bringing me the most peace. I’m never really sure whether the intense bursts of adrenaline and miles of hiking are the reason behind my serene smile of utter contentment, or if it’s simply due to the remote location of Hallo Bay Wilderness Camp, an hour’s flight from Homer.

I try not to think about it too much.

Hallo Bay's camp is a series of tent-cabins, a galley, and miles and miles of wild.

Hallo Bay Wilderness Camp is my happy place, a quonset-hutted compound of simplicity that brings me back every year for an emotional, physical, and spiritual battery recharge. It’s my place to simply be without thinking about anything else except the reality of one still, small voice in a place so much larger than me. I selfishly guard this place; AK Dad and Kid have not accompanied me across Cook Inlet, yet, for every time I go, I say “I need this for me.”

Young cub tries out clam digging on the beach.

Mama helps.

The experience of Hallo Bay is quiet, yet forceful. Days are spent observing bears in wide-open landscapes and narrow channels where each second is random from the next, and disconnecting from the moment means a loss of perspective, especially within the realm of knowing what to do, and when, how, or why. A delicate dance of trust developes the more I visit; without it the whole successful system would collapse mightily. Guides, guests, bears; each must depend upon the other through consistency of behavior, and it is that reason that keeps me coming back.

Salmon started running the day we arrived, making this bear pretty happy.

Coming our way.

My last visit left me shaken. My return this weekend was triumphant.

Looking for fish.

I put the camera down after a few successful shots and just was.

It was a good way to be.

The end.

~EK

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