Our trip towards Wrangell in the early morning was mystical. Harbor porpoises popped up here and there. As we approached Wrangell, low lying fog shrouded the land like a well-worn and threadbare blanket, with trees and mountain tops emerging from the blanket’s holes as sticks and islands in the sky, respectively. Gradually, the town of Wrangell revealed itself, and we dropped anchor to begin the day’s activities.

Choices included: a guided nature hike, a visit to the Tlingit tribal house, a visit to the museum featuring a history of the Tlingit culture, a viewing of the 10,000-year-old Tlingit petroglyphs etched on intertidal rocks, or a photo walk with National Geographic certified photo instructors. By midmorning, the fog burned off to reveal a calm and sunny day, a sort of ‘reward’ for yesterday’s torrential rain.

After lunch, we were able to hike the Mt. Dewey trail involving an elevation gain of 250 feet from the ship to the trail head and from there, another 250-feet elevation gain to the summit. Two hikes were offered: a slow, interpretive stroll and a fast, ‘no talking power walk.’ Both were magical, threading through a beautiful example of a coastal rainforest with tall and stately Sitka spruce and western hemlock, some with branches festooned with lichens and all surrounded by a plethora of additional lichens on the trunks. Many more lichen species shared the forest floor with mushrooms, mosses, and rainforest plants. The silence was deafening, and the visuals formed lasting images in our minds and on digital cards/phones. Additional activities included a visit/revisit to the museum, free time exploring Wrangell, or a continuation of the earlier photo walk.

Another perfect day in Southeast Alaska onboard National Geographic Sea Bird.