From Glacier Bay to Fox Creek

Jun 04, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Lion


This morning National Geographic Sea Lion could feel the pulse of the Pacific as we travelled across Cross Sound, northern port of the Inside Passage. Dropping the hook in Glacier Bay National Park, we explored the meadows, forest, and coastline of Fern Harbor. Beautiful scenery on a typical grey Southeast Alaska day we dawned our boots and rain gear and set off on our respective activities. On the ground there were signs of bears around every corner and we quickly realized we were in the domain of both black and brown bears here on the mainland of Alaska. Wildflowers abloom, we soaked up the beauty of this incredible corner of the world. Those who chose to explore the coast via Zodiac found themselves treated to the sight of otters, sea lions, and a few good rocks where gulls were stationed.

As we approached the afternoon’s landing on Chichagof Island patches of blue sky started appearing and we were feeling pretty blessed. Some of our team chose to kayak around Shaw Island while others chose to put their boots on the ground at Fox Creek. The wildflowers in the meadow beyond the beach were incredible, and as we penetrated the woods we found an incredible treasure encapsulated in the moss of the forest: a habitual bear trail perfectly imprinted in the thick moss and five-leaved bramble. With overlapping home ranges, these brown bears are interested in their neighbors. Rub trees and bear trails play a prominent role in communication via chemical signaling. Individual scent from urine and sweat glands of the bear’s feet allows them to communicate dominance and status.

This form of communication helps them to gain access to females during breeding and to maintain the best feeding spots without the need for antagonistic encounters. Further, other signs of bears came in the form of scat and scratch. The long hikers made it to a small waterfall and enjoyed a quiet nap in a grassy meadow while the rest enjoyed the incredible forest and flora of Fox Creek.

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About the Author

Elise Lockton

Naturalist

Elise’s passion for travel and interpretation is evident when you learn about the places she has chosen to live, work and travel. A degree in environmental studies introduced her to the world of interpreting nature, which has evolved into both a passion and profession.

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