FAT BEAR WEEK in Katmai National Park

For the past week, Katmai National Park in Alaska has been holding their annual “Fat Bear Week.” It was new to me this year, but I’m hooked.

I’ve had the privilege of visiting Katmai National Park and seeing the bears feast at Brooks Falls and it was truly something to behold.

And now there’s a tournament where the people vote for which bear is the fattest? It’s basically the most important election of 2018. Count me in!

There were a lot of Fat Bears this year, but ultimately it came down to these two behemoths.


Beadnose (left) vs. Bear 747 (right) in a gigantic finale to find the fattest bear in Katmai National Park

Although I feel like the camera angles help, Beadnose in this matchup (she’s sort of squatted down which pushes her fat up), ultimately Beadnose took the championship this year.

But all of the bears gave their best effort to get fat and I wanted to honor them. So I emailed Sir Elton John to ask if he’d do me the honor of singing a tribute song I wrote for the fat bears of Katmai National Park.  I never heard back.

I did hear back from an out-of-work, off-key and out of time Elton John impersonator named Kyle I found on Craigslist. Here’s the touching tribute to these magnificent beasts. Congrats, Beadnose!

Cory’s Reviews: Mt. Rainier AirBnB Cabin

Last week, I posted my review of an AirBnB my family stayed at during the week of July 4th, 2018 at the Oregon Coast. 

Essentially, when you stay at these places, these homes that people open up to you for a lot of money, there’s usually a little book in that house that all of the guests will sign. They are usually short and sweet. But when I stay at a place, I like to make the read worthwhile. At least to me. If I can make myself laugh, then it was time well spent. If I can make you laugh, then mission accomplished. Posting them here is just a convenient way for me to archive them so that when I’m gone, my kids and grandkids can look back at them and say, “Wow, dad was an idiot.” 

But I can’t see the reactions of the homeowners or other guests. I can see your reactions, so if you like it, let me know, tell your friends, read them to your child as a bedtime story. 

This review comes after my family stayed at a cabin near Mt. Rainier for our 4th anniversary. It was a nice place. Quaint. It had a hot tub (referenced as “the giant cup of water” below) and was dog-friendly. But there was one feature I noticed right away. It stole the show. 

Hope you enjoy! 

9/19 – 9/21

My wife booked this place for our 4th or 5th anniversary. I can’t remember how long it’s been. But anyway, in the however many years we’ve been together, she knows that if I’m gonna leave the house for a vacation, the place we’re going to better have enough hooks to hang my stuff on. We once went to a place on the Oregon Coast and there were 12 hooks in the whole house! I had to pick 12 things to hang up and we wasted our entire vacation picking out those 12 things! Didn’t even see the ocean! Still have never seen it 😦

Anyway, she assured me this cabin would have plenty of hooks and… SHE WAS RIGHT! I was skeptical. She’s like to me before. Like when she said I couldn’t use our Yankee Candle as deodorant. Well, then why do I smell like a Christmas Wreath?! But yeah, HOOKS GALORE! 

I spotted 20 hooks just after stepping through the door! I went to the kitchen… more hooks! I went to the hallway… more hooks! The bedrooms: hooks! The bathroom: Hooks! Out on the deck by the giant cup of water: hooks! 

(Side note: I enjoyed the fact that the giant cup of water was already warm. It made for some quick spaghetti and tea, but it tasted kinda funny. I’d recommend just drinking water out of the faucet.) 

Back to the hooks! There wasn’t anything these hooks couldn’t handle! Shirts, pants, hats, dog leashes, car keys, super-soakers, hair bands, DVD AND VHS copies of Speed 2: Cruise Control (I never take a chance. Always bring both. You never know if a place will have a DVD player, but not a VHS player or vice versa.) And what am I going to do? NOT watch Sandra Bullock and Jason Patric try to stop an out of control cruise ship on my vacation in multiple formats? It’s a superior film to the original. But when I wasn’t watching the VHS version I took comfort knowing it was securely waiting for me on the hooks by the door. 

Try and find enough things to hang on all the hooks in this house! So many hooks! What a fantastic surprise for our anniversary!!!

Let’s see… what else can I tell you about this place besides the abundance of hooks? 

My son really enjoyed the purple ice cream scoop in the 2nd drawer by the over. He never scooped any ice cream with it, but he would hold it and scream “ga ba doo doo ba doo!” This kept him entertained for hours. I’m not even sure he got to enjoy all of the hooks because he was so busy with the purple ice cream scooper. 

I’m fairly certain the squirrel picture on the wall by the dining table (next to the hooks on the fireplace) is haunted. Not sure if it’s good or bad, but our dog sat and stared at that thing for hours, sometimes while whining, sometimes while slightly growling. The squirrel ghost never bothered us, but it kept our bloodhound busy the entire time. 

We were a little disappointed the CD player in the boombox didn’t work. Thankfully, I have the Speed 2 soundtrack downloaded on my phone and brought my bluetooth speaker. 

The stools next to the microwave were great! We set our diaper bag on one of them and it held it the entire two days we were here!

All in all, we loved staying here and will definitely come back! I won’t even need to bring my portable hooks! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the wonderful place to stay and for 100% making my anniversary with your plethora of hooks! 

Also, one more thing. 

While purchasing some bird seed to make our anniversary dinner, the nice lady at the general store in Ashford told me there’s apparently a nice park call “Mt. Rainier” close to here. She didn’t know if they had a slide and swings, but it sounded nice. We might check that out next time. If you’re looking for something non-hook related to do (why would you?) go ask the lady in the general store about it. She should be able to give you directions. 

Thanks again!

The Howards! Cory, Heather, HHH and Georgia – Spokane, WA

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