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During their trip, Marsh Muirhead's group of travelers saw as many as 11 bears at a time eating, sleeping and generally getting in shape for the summer.

Katmai Wilderness: Close encounters with grizzly bears provide thrills

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Few things have given me the sense of wonder and respect, along with the adrenaline rush, that came on an afternoon in 2004 when I was sitting in a meadow in the Katmai Wilderness, my lunch in my lap, as a 1,000-pound grizzly ambled by just 50 feet away, glanced toward me, then walked off to his own lunch -- which, that day, was not me.

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