The itinerary below reflects a Juneau starting point and ending point in Ketchikan; however, many departures will operate in reverse, starting in Ketchikan and ending in Juneau. See our “Dates and Prices for this trip” document to refer to specific direction for each date.
Welcome to Juneau! We have time to take in a bit of the city once we check-in at the hospitality area. After boarding, we grab a glass of bubbly as we push off the dock and set sail for the Endicott Arm wilderness. Plan to arrive in Juneau before 2pm. All meals included once onboard.
We rise early and take an excited peek out our window to find fjord cliffs reaching skyward, floating ice and deep u-shaped valleys. This is Alaska! We cruise past harbor seals and their pups lounging on chunks of ice and at the end of Endicott, the blue face of Dawes Glacier is stories high. Will it calve? We listen for a crack and the unmistakable white thunder. Then it’s on to Fords Terror whose name originated from a trick of the tides on an early mariner. With tides permitting, our skiff driver, knowing its character, guides us along. It’s a mashup of towering walls, temperamental currents, and the Coastal Mountains. We look up to see many waterfalls tumbling down the rock faces and try to spy an occasional mountain goat showing off fancy footwork on the cliffs.
Yoga stretches on-deck jumpstart our day. Humpback and orca are frequent visitors of this southeast passage where a misty spout is a sure sign they’re in the neighborhood. Our captain navigates Stephens Passage to Port Houghton where we are in for a boot-sucking, paddle-smacking day of adventure with our guide team. The routes are picked out with choices for all. Elect to slip off the kayak launch and take it slow, spotting sea stars and shore birds. Hard chargers can take a long, wild paddle to the salt chuck at the back of the inlet or chose to hike into the Tongass with its landscape of hanging waterfalls and shades of green.
When we come this far, we might as well go all in. This is way back backcountry of Alaska's wilderness with its glacial landscapes marked by moraines, muskegs and mud. In this playground, it’s all an option today. We could kayak or skiff in water almost clear as glass with the mirror image of fjord walls playing on the surface. Or we could hike through the outwash of Baird Glacier or keep it green tromping through a grassy meadow into the forest. Later, we pass by the fishing town of Petersburg and wind into the Wrangell Narrows. Abundant bright red and green navigation lights guide the way. It’s “Christmas Tree Lane”, of course.
Home to native culture, wildlife, and wonder—Wrangell is one of the oldest towns in Alaska and the only one ever governed by four nations. Before venturing into town, local islanders join us on board with a presentation that brings their stories and legends to life. After we walk into town for a view of recently carved totem poles at Kiksetti Totem Park and step inside the famed and historically significant Chief Shakes Tribal House.
Wildlife abounds including black bears, mink and eagles. In Behm Canal, it’s all remote waterways and the isolated Tongass National Forest. On Cleveland Peninsula, our expedition team leads a low-elevation hike with wide-stretching views and good opportunities for panoramic shots. In the water orca, porpoises, seals and otters go about their business. We go about our business with a guided paddle along the canal or an intertidal shore walk which circles a tall sea stack covered in green.
There are places on the planet that completely overcome us. Misty Fjords National Monument, affectionately nicknamed “The Yosemite of the North,” is one of them. The beauty, the peace and the sense of place surround us. It represents nearly every ecosystem found in Southeast Alaska, and that alone is a lot to consider. Here we find glacial valleys filled with sea water and sheer 3,000-foot cliffs. Even the sea birds, brown and black bears and mountain goats find safe haven here. Kayaking in Walker Cove or Rudyerd Bay, we find it’s just as easy to paddle and go, as it is to sit and float and take it all in, or we skiff to the base of a waterfall for a fjord-released shower. It’s an amazing wrap to our week. The captain joins us tonight for a Farewell Dinner and we celebrate and reminisce about our Alaskan journey with a “photo journal” by the crew.
After breakfast this morning, we bid adieu to the new friends we’ve made before disembarking. Transfers are offered to the Ketchikan airport unless plans have been made to overnight or extend with a land tour. Flights out of Ketchikan must be scheduled after 11:30am.