Alaska’s adventure capital lived up to its name today. Under a brilliant blue sky and with the temperature at nearly 70 degrees, we were not shy on options during our visit to Haines, Alaska. From strenuous hikes up to the snowline, lake and sea bike rides, flightseeing over the northeast corner of Glacier Bay National Park, gentle floats down the Klehini to Chilkat Rivers…we took advantage of everything this beautiful town has to offer.

The morning took many of us, including me, up “the most pristine valley in the nation.” These very confident words contrasted with the scene we saw and photographed while driving up the valley. Some very inspirational young women inspired the included photo essay. Four recipients of Planet Forwards Storyfest contest are traveling with us this week. The grand prize for the contest was a trip on this vessel. Planet Forward is a multimedia and storytelling school run by Lisa Palmer out of George Washington University, and it is supported by Sven Lindblad and Lindblad Expeditions. These women were with me today in the Chilkat Valley. We looked at each other following those words from our bus driver: “the most pristine valley in the nation.” We realized there was more to the story. Here is what we saw, discussed, and photographed during our time together today.