The third road-accessible town, Hyder, population 87, uses a British Columbia area code, and its bars accept Canadian dollars. Skagway is unabashedly touristy, welcoming as many as 10, cruise ship visitors on a summer day. Haines, which sees less than a tenth of Skagway's cruise tourism, is often cited as the inspiration for the quirky '90s TV series "Northern Exposure. Both the real and the TV town are populated by Alaska characters who would be considered eccentric elsewhere. He wore fingerless gloves, a visor adorned with flames, and a timepiece on each wrist.
The back of his SUV was littered with kites. Nanney related the story of Muir's first visit to the area, which was a stronghold of the feared Chilkat Tlingit tribe. The Chilkats liked S. Hall Young, Muir's proselytizing companion, and granted him permission to build a Presbyterian school and mission that grew to become Haines. They loved Muir, whose famous dictum, "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe," emphasized the interconnectedness of all things, an attitude that echoed the animist worldview of the Chilkats.
Haines bills itself as the Adventure Capital of Alaska, which is a little like claiming the title Corn Capital of Iowa, although the town does boast world-class hiking trails, and perhaps a third of the vehicles I saw had bikes or kayaks strapped to their roofs. To me, Haines' chief attractions were its near-laboratory conditions for idling: a pedestrian-friendly layout; an excellent coffee shop with picnic tables where dogs lounged at their owners' feet; a superb library and bookstore; and perhaps the prettiest setting in Southeast Alaska, snow-capped mountains that rise almost straight out of Lynn Canal, a topographic contrast Himalayan in scale.
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Gustavus, the tiny town that serves as the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park, is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Alaska — by acreage, anyway. Over recent decades, average air temperatures near Glacier Bay have increased, and billions of tons of ice have melted. This weight loss causes the land to rebound about 2 inches per year. One family has reclaimed enough solid ground from the surrounding waters to open a nine-hole golf course. Kim Heacox, a former park ranger who has written extensively on Muir's time in Alaska, drove me down to the tidal flats to see where his adopted hometown was expanding.
Gustavus is about 20 minutes from Juneau by air — a four-to-six-hour ferry ride is also offered twice weekly in summer — yet, because it is hemmed in by snowy mountains, feels a million miles from anywhere. It helps that its dock is too small to accommodate cruise ships. There's no downtown, just an intersection called the Four Corners, where you can find an art gallery and cafe, a transplanted s gas station, and the Sunnyside Market, which sells excellent sandwiches and a wide variety of natural and organic foods.
My rain-free streak continued, and I passed two gorgeous days riding one of Heacox's old mountain bikes up and down the main road, past moose and fields of purple lupine. The town's official website also recommends hitchhiking as a mode of transport. At the historic Gustavus Inn, I shared a family-style meal prepared with ingredients from the garden, seated with some congenial Colorado farmers who had come up for salmon season and insisted that climate change was a hoax. In , the Harriman's luxury steamship spent several days anchored in front of Muir's namesake glacier, bobbing in a slurry of newly birthed icebergs a safe distance from what Muir once called "the tremendous threatening cliffs of the discharging wall.
The full-day, mile round-trip circuit of the bay provides an excellent narration by a National Park Service naturalist in a Smokey Bear hat, as well as a cold lunch and unlimited coffee. Icy Bay IPA is, of course, available for purchase. We motored slowly past a chunk of rock swarming with bald eagles on top and sea lions below, and approached the spot that, in the s, had marked the terminus of Muir Glacier. The inlet was now open water.
The onboard ranger explained that the onetime showpiece of Glacier Bay had receded out of sight, a retreat of more than 30 miles since Muir first saw it. Continuing north, we eventually stopped in front of the Margerie Glacier and parked next to a gigantic cruise ship. Every 10 minutes or so, a thunderclap rang out and a chunk of ice plummeted from the Margerie's mile-wide blue face, creating an epic splash.
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The effect was spellbinding. Glaciers advance and retreat; that's their natural cycle. But the tidewater glaciers of Alaska — those that extend to the water's edge — are almost entirely in retreat these days. The causes are complicated, and Glacier Bay's ice has been receding since the mids, but human-caused climate change is accelerating the process.
Even the most remote corners of the Last Frontier are hitched to everything else in the universe. It seems likely that the Alaska writings of John Muir will outlast the ice that inspired them. We lingered of the Margerie for half an hour, entranced by its beautiful violence, then turned back toward Gustavus, borne smoothly over calm blue waters. Subscribe Customer Service. All content. Alaska News Earthquake. Alaska Life We Alaskans. Alaska Marijuana News. Arts and Entertainment TV Listings. Opinions Editorials.
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Above Alaska and the Inside Passage
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Overview Above Alaska and the Inside Passage offers a breathtaking collection of high quality aerial photographs capturing the splendour and natural beauty of this remote state. This beautiful ebook takes viewers on a virtual journey by helicopter from the Port of Seattle, past Victoria on Vancouver Island to the less inhabited Alaskan wilderness of the Inside Passage and beyond.
These breathtaking aerial views look down at life on the colourful Alaskan cruise ships which ply these waters along with some of their isolated destinations. From the Ketchikan waterfront to the sprawling metropolis of Anchorage, renowned Canadian photographer Russ Heinl captures each aerial image to perfection. His professional eye, combined with the latest high-tech equipment, capture in minute detail the breathtaking beauty of Alaska including its magnificent wildlife, spectacular glaciers and modern cities in this collection of aerial photos.
Using the latest gyro-stabilized Nikon camera systems, the photographs capture the smallest detail from the barnacled tail fins of humpback whales to the textured surface of surreal blue ice glaciers. Stunning images capture the snow-capped peaks of the Chugach Mountains and the vast Columbia Glacier which ends in Prince William Sound. For armchair travellers, would-be Alaska visitors, nature lovers and those who simply want to recapture their visit to this amazing state, Above Alaska and the Inside Passage charts an awe-inspiring voyage of discovery through aerial photography.
This beautiful ebook will thrill every reader with its stunning aerial pictures, clarity and attention to detail with an informative introduction to enhance each chapter.