Space the Final Frontier or maybe I should say, Alaska the Last Frontier is what I’m calling home these days. Sailing along the Inside Passage, which has breath taking beauty around every corner. The ocean is calm these days cos I’m in North America’s largest fjord where the depths of the channels & passages go way below a thousand feet. You don’t want to go swimming cos hypothermia will set in a matter of minutes or if your dry suit certified scuba diving is your best option for the beautiful underwater paradise of kelp beds that might be appealing & find paradise. The ocean is a beautiful green blue with glacier silt once your close the glaciers or it’s just a pretty blue that looks chilly.
A few years back when I spent my summer working on the Sit’ku (Tingit for among the glaciers) for Allen Marine out of Auke Bay, Juneau, Alaska where I would do a weekly runs down to Tracy Arm Wilderness Territory. I love this area of Southeast Alaska & it happens to be one of my favorite spots. Something is magical with the natural energy that this place has. John Muir compared it to Yosemite National Park cos of the u-shape valleys that line the fjord with numerous waterfalls with tidewater glaciers, icebergs, sea lions and islands that shape the landscape. I always see something new each time I’m in this place. Words can’t describe the beauty you just have to experience it yourself to understand Mother Nature’s wisdom. Not much has changed since John Muir’s time since your going back in time to experience untouched landscapes to man.
|Dawes Glacier, Endicott Arm|
Endicott Arm is my expedition today, which is part of Holkham Bay; it’s about six hours south of Juneau by boat. You can only access the arm via boat or by plane; roads are sparse in these parts. The arm is over thirty miles long, hemmed in by vertical walls of granite that grow higher & higher as you penetrate into the heart of the Coast Range. It’s been a wonderful morning exploring Dawes Glacier that was named after a senator from Massachusetts back in the 1800’s. I was lucky enough to watch the glacier cave a few times & the sounds of the caving sound like an avalanche. There were a few harbor porpoises swimming along & I found out that they are the smallest cetaceans. The landscape always changes in the fjord due to the icebergs & how much activity of the glacier. No iceberg is the same with their own identity shaping them. There’s always a beautiful waterfall to check out with the flora that line the granite walls of the valley. In another month the greens will pop with the colors of the vegetation with occasional glimpses of wildflowers. Snow covered peaks with a fog mist grace the shore that are home to hidden hanging glaciers. You are definitely surrounded by beauty.
Ford’s Terror is a narrow side fjord that is only approachable by a slack tide with a twisting channel that has inspired costal mariners from the native Tligit people through the present. Few vessels dare to attempt the passage threw the narrow channel & ferocious currents into the upper fjord that is a hidden valley only seen by a minute majority of visitors to Southeast Alaska. It’s been said that John Muir’s canoe was almost sucked into the narrow entrance by the current. Ford’s Terror is covered with beautiful Sika Spruce that lines the cliffs that come down to the shore. There’s an abundance of beautiful waterfalls & snow capped mountains with spots of ice on them.
Right before the entrance to Stephens Passage still located in Holkham Bay is Sumdum Glacier, which sits at an abandon native village, & not too far north of it is an abandon fox farm located in the entrance to Tracy Arm. Overall is has been a beautiful day here. Got to embrace the moment before it is lost.