The ups and downs of the pandemic have made travel more difficult, but I've managed to make a couple of trips to Southeast Alaska, one I just returned from and the other only a month earlier. I fell in love after visiting Glacier Bay National Park, where I was asked to come and experience Glacier Bay Lodge as well as the Glacier Bay tour.
While I have visited Anchorage, Seward and that general area, there is nothing like Southeast Alaska, although it did remind me of one of my favorite places: the South Island of New Zealand, with countless islands, water, and dramatic mountains in every direction.
I took the glacier cruise through Glacier Bay and saw a wealth of wildlife, not only whales, sea lions, seals, sea otters, puffins, and bald eagles, but mountain goats, coastal brown bears, and even moose, all visible along the shore. Incredible. We got face-to-face with Margerie Glacier and heard the thundering sounds of iceberg calving too. On my second trip I stayed primarily around Juneau and took a guided kayak/wildlife watching tour as well as a small boat whale watching tour. I also went on a very early hike (about 6 a.m.) to Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls, a 377-foot waterfall that fronts the glacier. There were no other people along the trail or anywhere else, I was accommpanied by ravens, a bird I've since become a bit obsessed with - they're said to be at least as intelligent as monkeys and their "chatter" sounds quite a bit like human language - they can even be taught to speak. I enjoyed their company, it wasn't until making my return that I encountered anpther person. What an experience to be gazing up at the magnificent waterfall with the glacier just beside it, listening to the roar of the cascades with not a soul around.
After Mendenhall, I decided to take a scenic drive to Eagle Beach, just 25 minutes from downtown Juneau. It was already 9:30, but when I arrived, it was just me, countless bald eagles, and more ravens. They were both there for the salmon that looked almost dolphin sized, swimming up a narrow, shallow creek, with tall fins sticking out as they splashed their way through. It was there on that beach that I realized that this is truly my heaven. The remote wilderness and stunning scenery, the incredible wildlife, not to mention, delicous Alaskan king crab and extremely friendly locals.
Two times to the area still wasn't enough. I know I will be back, probably again and again.
You can read more about Glacier Bay here: Glacier Bay Lodge: A Life Changing Experience in the Wilds of Alaska