Welcome aboard! Meet your Captain, crew, and the expedition team of your week long adventure. Get acquainted with your new mates as you heave ho for the wilderness.
Kick off your first full day of adventure with some up-close, amped-up bear viewing and kayaking. Hike in a mile or so to a bear observatory and stand within yards of bears feeding in their natural habitat. Breakout the gear for your first half-day kayaking foray; Alaska’s shoreline and outback offers ample chances for spotting more wildlife.
It’s a multi-sport day and your first chance for all-day adventure. Today you’ll anchor in bear country for back country hiking and exploration. Giving you the best of what you want, you can opt for a sack lunch and wild Alaska bushwhacking or kayaking the pristine bays that wind through the Tongass National Forest. Also offered is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to snorkel in Alaska and discover the array of sea life hidden below the water’s surface.
Change gears today with glacier-hiking and up-close viewing of the cryptobiotics of this other-worldly terrain. Walk carefully across the terminal moraine—walking back in time—until you stand atop the mile-wide Baird Glacier. Explore the vast expanse of this “river of ice” and learn about the forces that create glaciers and their earth-shaping impact. If you opt for a full-day glacier exploration, you’ll need to bring your own crampons. Or you can mix it up with combo of glacier hiking, paddle boarding, and kayaking.
Extensive backcountry explorations, on foot and by kayak, are on tap today in one of the most striking landscapes in all of Southeast Alaska—Thomas Bay. Choose the steep and rugged Cascade Creek trail (waterproof hiking boots and gaiters are a must), which terminates at Swan Lake, an alpine lake formed by glaciers over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. This established trail—with difficult stretches marked by tree roots, large rocks, and possible fallen trees—gains 1,200 feet in 5 miles, and requires 6-7 hours round trip.
Another option is the 5-mile (one way) low-elevation hike to the glacially-fed and rarely visited Patterson Lake. Hike in with your companions, and then launch a kayak into Patterson River for spectacular kayaking to the foot of Patterson Glacier before hiking back to the trailhead. Elevation gain on this trail is less than 750 feet.
Wilderness and wildlife and you—civilization has disappeared altogether and forest has reclaimed the prospector’s territory where gold was first discovered in Alaska. Gear up for a back bay, multi-sport day of exploration—hiking, kayaking, and bushwhacking. Break out in small groups to explore on foot in the earth’s largest temperate rainforest and push off in a kayak to uncover your own riches along its shores. Cruising through famed Stephen’s Passage and Frederick Sound, take in some relaxation and whale watching—whales, sea lions, marbled murrelets or pigeon guillemots, and whatever else nature has in store.
Paddle till your heart’s content and make the most of your last day of exploration. Winding fjords with sheer granite walls, cascading waterfalls, and some of the largest icebergs in all of Alaska lie within this federally recognized Wilderness Area. With your boat serving as basecamp, you can opt for shorter kayak outings staying nearby or a full-day kayak excursion in Endicott Arm. Conditions permitting; there’ll be a chance to kayak among icebergs in the fjord. This evening during the Captain’s Dinner, raise a toast to the week’s adventures.
Enjoy a farewell breakfast before disembarking this morning. Transfer directly to the airport or begin your add-on overnight stay or extended land tour.