Spying on the Forest King

What would a Bear Trail be without… well, bears?

In collaboration with Karhu-Kuusamo Oy.

On our hike from Ruka to the Arctic Circle we noticed a severe lack of bears, despite the name-sake of the trail. But thankfully, we were given the opportunity to redeem the situation.

Whenever I’ve thought “bear watching booth”, I’ve pictured a shack with a hole in the wall for your camera. This was something entirely different, even modern.

Huge windows, central heating, bunk beds and an indoor toilet. They had a row of spots for your cameras, some accompanied with ball joint attachments. A photographer’s dream! Not only that, I got to borrow a 300mm telephoto lens with a tele converter! So 450mm of sheer tele power. Which was a blessing, since I don’t own anything close to that.

Most of the night it was just us, waiting. Which wasn’t boring or tedious, thanks to the amazing accommodation.

Before long, however, a group of three appeared. Three cubs.


They told us their mom had let them go just a year ago so as one can imagine, they were alert. Only one of them stayed for a longer period of time to climb on trees and whatnot.

I have to admit, I was satisfied even after these three guys. Had we left after this, I would’ve been just fine. But then I saw two big ones. And two more.

We saw a total of eight bears, twenty eagles and about a million seagulls that night.

At some point, the two adults started what I can only describe as a heated argument and man, I felt the roar in my chest.

If the three cubs made me go “aww”, these two served as a reminder that these are beasts, not puppies.

– Heikki


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