A week of small-ship cruising from Juneau, Alaska, through the wilderness waterways of the Alaska Southeast can get you close to humpback whales, orcas, glaciers, bears, and hundreds of islands covered with rain forests. You may see Endicott Arm, Tracy Arms, Sawyer Glacier, Keku Channel, the Tlingit Indian village of Kake, Bay of Pillars, Sitka, and Glacier Bay. In Juneau, see the Mendenhall Glacier, Mount Roberts Tram, the Lynne Canal, Alaska State Museum, and Gastineau Fish Hatchery.
Some smaller cruise ships and ferries call at or explore Prince Rupert, Ketchikan, Tracy Arms, and Haines. Here are portraits of four lesser-known ports and destinations in Alaska.
Cruising Alaska in summer can include the pleasures of the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay National Park, the capital at Juneau, and the Russian settlement at Sitka.
From my tent on Growler Island in Prince William Sound I gazed at vast expanses of the Alaska wilderness. Prince William Sound offers a visitor the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Captain Stan Stephen's Cruises, Bligh Reef, Cordova, Eyak Indians, clear cuts, salmon, halibut, Valdez, Glacier Island, and zodiac boats.
Summer visitors come each year to Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, mainly by cruise ship, to experience the glaciers and the wildlife., such as humpback whales.
Grizzly or brown bear viewing takes place at Alaska Bear Viewing Camp at Lake Clark National Park in Alaska. This was formerly Wayne Beyers' homestead.
The southeast panhandle of Alaska, including Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka, differs sharply from the more northerly sections of the state. Precipitation here is high, comparing with Washington state, so the trees, such as Sitka spruce, grow to great heights and can be harvested for lumber or pulp.
The return of wolves to Yellowstone and the proliferation of humpback whales in Alaska are two antidotes to environmental pessimism that I have experienced.