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An 8-day itinerary to discover the raw beauty of Alaska. Wind through canals, explore Tongass backcountry both on foot and by kayak. Visit Kiksetti Totem Park and Chief Shakes Tribal House as you sail from Juneau to Ketchikan onboard Wilderness Explorer. You'll have the opportunity to do some whale spotting, as well as being on the lookout for other wildlife native to Alaska. Marvel at the epic Dawes Glacier standing at over 600ft tall, a very active icecap known for its spectacular calving displays and explore Misty Fjords National monument, a mosaic of sea cliffs, steep fjords and rock walls jutting 3000ft straight out of the ocean. These and many more highlights await.
Day 1: Juneau
Arrivee in Juneau and be met with a warm welcome. You have time to take in a bit of the city once you check-in at the hospitality area. But after boarding, grab a glass of bubbly as you push off the dock. Your ship will set sail for the Endicott Arm wilderness.
Take an early peek out your window. You'll see fjord cliffs reaching skyward. Floating ice. And deep u-shaped valleys. There’s no abracadabra here. Mother Nature’s magic is real. Cruise past harbour seals and their pups lounging on chunks of ice. At the end of Endicott, the blue face of Dawes Glacier will be ahead, stories high. And in classic fjord form, Tracy Arm delivers with the cotton candy blue Twin Sawyers glacier of its furthest reaches. Tides permitting, your skiff driver knows the ropes and guides you along. It’s a mashup of towering walls, temperamental currents, and the Coastal Mountains. So many waterfalls. Mountain goats show off fancy footwork on the cliffs. Look for the
Perhaps you'll enjoy some morning yoga stretches on-deck to jump-start the day? Humpback and orca are frequent visitors of this Southeast passage. A misty spout is a sure sign they’re in the neighbourhood. Your captain navigates Stephens Passage to Port Houghton. And you’re in for a day of adventure with your guide team. The routes are all picked out. Make your choice and make your move. Slip off the kayak launch and take it slow spotting sea stars and shorebirds. Hard chargers take a long wild paddle to the salt chuck at the back of the inlet. Or, hike into the Tongass. It’s a landscape of hanging waterfalls and shades green
You've now reached the backcountry of Alaska’s wilderness. Glacial landscapes marked by moraines, muskegs, and mud. In this playground, it’s all an option today. Kayak and skiff in water almost clear as glass. The mirror image of the fjord walls plays on the surface. Hike through the outwash of Baird Glacier. Or keep it green on an interpretive walk through a grassy meadow into the forest. Later, wind into the Wrangell Narrows. Abundant bright red and green navigation lights guide the way. It’s nicknamed “Christmas Tree Lane,” of course.
Wrangell is one of the oldest towns in Alaska. It’s also the only one ever governed by four nations. The Tlingit cultures have deep roots here. And local islanders come aboard this morning with a presentation that brings their stories and legends to life. Venture into town for a view of recently carved totem poles at Kiksetti Totem Park. See how many totems you can pick out on each pole. Step inside famed Chief Shakes Tribal House. Can you feel the history in this historic community house?
Wildlife abounds. Black bears, mink, eagles. In Behm Canal, it’s all remote waterways and the isolated Tongass National Forest. On Cleveland Peninsula, your expedition team leads a low-elevation hike near clear, rushing streams. Good opportunities for enticing forested shots of Southeast. In the water orca, porpoises, seals, and otters go about their business. Go about yours on a guided paddle in tiny, deserted waterways that feed into Behm Canal.
There are places on the planet that completely overcome you. This is one of them. The beauty. The peace. The sense of place you feel. Misty Fjords National Monument represents nearly every ecosystem found in Southeast Alaska. And that alone is a lot to consider. Glacial valleys filled with seawater. Sheer 3,000 ft cliffs. Sea birds, brown and black bears, mountain goats, Sitka black-tailed deer, all find safe haven here. Kayak in Walker Cove or Rudyerd Bay and you find it’s just as easy to paddle and go, as it is to sit and float and take it all in. Or skiff to the base of a waterfall for a fjord released shower. The area’s affectionate nickname, “The Yosemite of the North,” is deserved. And it’s an amazing wrap to your week. Your captain joins you tonight for a Farewell Dinner. Celebrate and reminisce about your Alaskan journey with a “photo journal” by your crew.
After breakfast, this morning, bid adieu to your new pals before you disembark and transfer to the Ketchikan airport for your onward travels
Exploration, access and comfort all share equal importance on the Wilderness Explorer. Adventure ready with casual ambience, the onboard amenities and equipment on this 74-guest expedition vessel put the focus on action, adventure and relaxation - the perfect combination.
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