Aug 25, 2017 - National Geographic Sea Lion
Today was an extremely wet day, but we had an amazing day exploring Southeast Alaska! We woke up this morning in Thomas Bay, ready to hike adventurously along Cascade Creek in rain and boot-sucking mud, and get our hearts racing up steps cut out in the rocks and in wooden logs, and admire one last time this week the lush jungle that is the coastal temperate rainforest of Southeast Alaska. We were all explorers this morning, muddy, wet to the bone, but somehow rejuvenated by the clean air, the big trees, and the roar of Cascade Creek.
While many of us hiked along the mighty Cascade Creek and admired the torrent of a waterfall near the start of the trail, some of our fellow guests explored LaConte Glacier from the air, getting to soar, in Stinson float-planes, just 1,000 feet above the tremendous river of ice – LaConte Glacier is the southernmost tidewater glacier in the Northern Hemisphere! The scale of the deep and wide crevasses, like a thousand cuts across the glacier, remind of the naturalist and environmentalist John Muir who in 1879 and several years later, explored glacial crevasses in Southeast Alaska and remarked on their spectacular beauty and also power in shaping landscapes.
In the afternoon, we docked in Petersburg, a quaint town of 3,000, where life revolves all around fishing, largely for salmon and halibut. We explored the dock, noting the different types of vessels focused on specific types of fishing techniques, and we observed the sea life, such as plumose anemones, making a home on the dock pylons. We explored the little town and noted all the fascinating elements of Norwegian culture that still pervade this unique place. The most courageous of all, though, braved the rain and explored the muskeg bog on Kupreanof Island, across from Petersburg and discovered that this unique ecosystem harbors some pretty remarkable creatures, including a carnivorous plant, called the sundew!
This evening we watched the documentary “Chasing Ice” and are now in great anticipation of waking up in front of Dawes Glacier in Endicott Arm in Fords Terror Wilderness tomorrow morning.
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