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.
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.
The beauty of nature, in all its ravishing diversity, is one of the main joys in life that we as humans may be fortunate to experience. Yet nature, in all its loveliness, does not care about the anxiety that we may feel regarding our brief human presence on this earth.
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.
Getting Away from It All in Alaska: Flying in a Bush Plane from Anchorage to be Dropped at a Wilderness Lake. Ketchum Air flew me for an hour to Trail Lake and left me there.
A two-week Alaska Grand Tour could take a visitor to Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Skagway, and Sitka. Part of the trip would be by cruise ship and part by bus tour.
Anchorage is the gateway to many of the travel adventures available in Alaska. On your what to see and do list, put Resolution Park, Earthquake Park, salmon spawning, Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alaska Zoo, Portage Glacier, and Prince William Sound.
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.