Tag: Glacier Bay

Getting Up the Inside Passage to Southeast Alaska

Getting Up the Inside Passage to Southeast Alaska

I’m an independent traveler.

That means I roam from place to place, and book my lodging and transportation, on my own without paying a tour company to do that for me and without being accompanied by anyone other than my wife.

But sometimes working with a tour company to put a trip together makes sense, as:

  • When you will only be permitted to visit the place, such as the Galapagos Islands, on fully-guided tour.
  • When you will have a much richer experience traveling with guides who “know their stuff” than you would by simply relying on guidebooks as your source of information.
  • When planning a trip to a destination will be so logistically complicated that you’ll end up either not going or spending an inordinate amount of time in-transit rather than having fun with your “boots on the ground.”

Southeast Alaska (known simply as “Southeast” by its residents) falls into the latter category. You can get there and get around on your own, but figuring out how to do so won’t be easy.

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In An Icy National Park: Glacier Bay

In An Icy National Park: Glacier Bay

According to the Glacier Bay National Park Website,

“When Captain George Vancouver charted adjacent waters of Icy Strait in 1794, he and his crew described what we now call Glacier Bay as just a small five-mile indent in a gigantic glacier that stretched off to the horizon. That massive glacier was more than 4,000 feet thick in places, up to 20 miles wide, and extended more than 100 miles to the St. Elias mountain range.

“By 1879, however, naturalist John Muir discovered that the ice had retreated more than 30 miles forming an actual bay.

“By 1916, the Grand Pacific Glacier – the main glacier credited with carving the bay – had melted back 60 miles to the head of what is now Tarr Inlet.”

Modern-day visitors to the park can sail far up into the bay, either in their own craft, on a cruise ship, or a park concessionaire tour boat, and get fairly “up close and personal” with the remaining glaciers.

But not everything at Glacier Bay worth seeing and photographing is made of ice.

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“Southeast” – A Cinematic Essay

“Southeast” – A Cinematic Essay

Southeast Alaska is one of the most remote places where one could live in the United States.

Approaching "Cake" (Kake) On "Taku"

No roads connect its few towns, which are scattered wide apart over 35,000 square miles of mountains, forests, glaciers and sea.

Should you move there to permanently live, or merely pay it a brief visit on vacation?

That’s the question posed by following short film which I produced and which aired last month on local TV in Marin County, just north of San Francisco.

(For more about visiting the Alaska Panhandle, read our ‘Destination: Southeast Alaska” story.)

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