As an primer to Southeast Alaska the day couldn’t have been more satisfying. Our introduction began with a 25-mile expedition into the Tracy Arm-Ford’s Terror Wilderness Area, carved out by the Sawyer Glacier over the course of several millennia. The active face of this tidewater glacier was just that, cracking and creaking, booming and bursting with regular calving events making for quite a show. Beside the sheer walls, mountain goats were seen foraging on the algae and kelp exposed at low tide.
In the afternoon we navigated back out of the fjord to a side arm called William’s Cove. Here the evergreen forests of Sitka spruce and western hemlock grow right down to the water’s edge. The bridge team had spotted a lone black bear further back at the water’s edge within the bay, which we were permitted to view for but a few moments before it slipped back into the dense forest. Landing then at the bay’s opposing shore, we set out on foot to hike into the temperate rainforest for the first time while other members of our expedition set out in kayaks to paddle in the serene waters of Southeast Alaska.