Today we made our first expedition landing and visited Cascade Creek. The creek was flowing prodigiously, roaring loudly, and producing a lot of mist. Hikes differed in strenuousness and length, and a couple of groups even did some bushwhacking in the rainforest. The National Geographic Sea Lion then sailed down toward Baird Glacier and Scenic Cove where some of us hiked on the outwash plain in a field of blooming Nookta lupine while others took advantage of the opportunity to kayak and paddleboard.
National Geographic Sea Bird
It rained today. It rained all day. It’s Southeast Alaska—it’s supposed to rain. We’ve been spoiled by the last two days of warm sunshine but the return to a more normal temperate rainforest day didn’t hamper our excitement. Today was a day of adventure, today we went somewhere new. Somewhere our expedition leader, Sarah Friedlander, picked out on a map based on topography and what little information she could gather. We explored the Etolin wilderness today, and it did not disappoint. We spent our morning kayaking amongst thousands of moon jellies and then ventured in Zodiacs up a stream teeming with pink salmon. We then continued north to Steamer Bay where we were able to hike along the margins of an active salmon stream, and across meadows filled with evidence of bear activity and into old growth forest. The salmon carcasses were everywhere, having been transported by birds and bears away from the stream. Traffic jams of pink salmon backed up at forks in the rapids, all pushing up the current. The wildlife was as abundant as the rain. We were all soaked through by the end of the day, but it was so very worth it to see Alaska in this way: wild, pristine, untouched. Absolutely the best day of the season.