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Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness

Jessica Apfel

Expedition Ship
National Geographic
Sea Lion / Sea Bird

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Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness

Jessica Apfel

Majestic, untamed, and teeming with life, the wilderness of Alaska is exactly that – wild. And Alaska’s fabled Inside Passage is one of the best places to experience what makes this unparalleled wilderness so special.

After a short flight from Seattle to Sitka, I spent eight days aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion exploring the narrow inlets of this amazing region.

Unlike the increasingly popular mega-cruise ships, our itinerary was ultimately determined by nature. On the first day brown bears rerouted our afternoon hike (but not before everyone loaded into Zodiacs to get a good look at the beautiful mother and her three adorable cubs), and humpback whales interrupted dinner on more than one occasion.

My best adventures have a “pinch me, I must be dreaming” moment, and this time the sensation struck me at Glacier Bay National Park. The day started off with misty, low clouds beautifully nestled into spruce-clad islands, and we were greeted early on by a slew of wildlife – Stellar sea lions sprawled across rocky beaches, graceful bald eagles gliding above, and snow-white mountain goats freckling the grassy slopes.

As we ventured north the glaciers began to show their magnificent faces. By this time the fog had lifted, and the sun shined brilliantly above, reflecting on the jewel-like, teal colored water. We silently stared at the towering Margerie Glacier in anticipation, and it didn’t take long for us to witness a giant piece of ice crashing into the ocean below, creating a thunderous, resonating sound.

Alaska was simply spectacular!

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