Daily Expedition Reports
Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness

JIll Niederberger, Naturalist, September 2019

  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 06 Sep 2019

Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness

  • Aboard the National Geographic Quest
  • Alaska

We awoke to the clam waters in the Devil’s Punchbowl in the Misty Fjords National Monument.

Surrounded by towering rock walls and totally untouched wilderness, many guests explored the surrounding rocky shoreline by Zodiac, paddleboard, or kayak. The sundeck made for a fine front porch for those who wanted to drink in the temperate forest with a cup of warm coffee in hand.

Misty Fjord abounds with beauty. Designated in the 1980s, it is the largest wilderness zone across the Alaskan national forest at just under 2.2 million acres. National Geographic Quest traveled north through the 100-mile-long Behm Canal, allowing us to witness towering rock walls of the fjord and the verdant green rainforest, from mountain tops to sea level.

After lunch, Zodiacs departed once more for a photo excursion in Rudyerd Bay. The misty afternoon was the perfect backdrop to watch National Geographic Quest emerge from the extremely narrow and shallow Owl Pass within God’s Pocket. Here guests sighted dozens of eagles in flight, especially at the rivers where the salmon were running. Both morning and afternoon explorers sighted a black bear as well as harbor seals.

With the day advancing, guests were treated to the 234-foot volcanic plug, New Eddystone Rock, as named by George Vancouver. The ship circumnavigated this monolith of basalt, marveling at its structure – it has weathered the erosion of glaciers and ocean waters gracefully over hundreds and thousands of years. It watched over us as we sailed south to Canada, leaving Misty Fjord National Monument and the pristine beauty of Southeast Alaska in our wake.

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