Thomas Bay and Petersburg, Alaska

Aug 17, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Lion


The morning had consistent rain and fog, ensuring us that we were still in Southeast Alaska’s temperate rainforest. We were anchored in the mysterious area that is the scene of The Strangest Story Ever Told—a creepy tale of the search for gold only to find monsters in the mountains. Luckily, no monsters were found on our excursions, and instead we enjoyed hikes on the Cascade Creek trail.

The waterfall at the trailhead was flowing strongly and was a beautiful backdrop for family photos. The long aerobic hike headed far up the trail. The steps carved into stone and logs couldn’t stop the group, and we made our way past the point that the trail workers maintained to the rooty, muddy part of the trail where logs and branches had to be climbed over and crawled under. The sound of the creek was loud enough to make it hard to hear the people around us, and beautiful views of the water were found as we hiked.

After returning from our hikes and drying off, a few presentations were given as we sailed through the rain towards Petersburg. While the rain let up, the low clouds stayed overhead just to remind us that it may rain again and it would be best to keep our rain gear at hand.

Petersburg is a thriving fishing town with a strong Norwegian heritage, which is visited by all kinds of vessels from near and far. Dock walks explored the working area and allowed us to see the various pursers and seiners that spend time in Petersburg. Across the water, hikes through the Tongass National Forest went up to a large muskeg. Leading up to the muskeg, the forest has areas of drainage where skunk cabbage and devil’s club thrives. Once in the open muskeg, we felt tall as the lack of nutrients didn’t allow for the skunk cabbage to grow large and the smaller plants like the carnivorous sundew grow strongly as they take the nutrients the soil is lacking from flies that they trap.

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About the Author

Sarah Friedlander

Naturalist

Growing up with a large backyard, Sarah spent her childhood exploring the woods and bringing home frogs. When asked not to bring frogs into the house, she learned the difference between frogs and toads and was soon asked not to bring toads into the house either. Raised just outside of Washington, DC, she considers herself lucky to have grown up with exposure to a combination of the outdoors and the city, as it helped her pick with certainty which one she wanted to spend all her time in - the outdoors.

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