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Into Alaska's Wilderness on a Camping Adventure

08-27-2012

By Manuel Hernandez, Steward, Wilderness Adventurer

The rainy, windy climate turned in our favor and clear blue skies announced our arrival to Saginaw Bay. I had my first opportunity to camp out in Southeast Alaska this past week.

Our campsite which was located in Halleck Harbor, was surrounded by salmon berry shrubs. Jenny Heard, one of the expedition guides, led the camping excursion. Three guests joined the two of us as we set to jump headfirst into the woods.

expedition guide

Jenny Heard holds up an opalescent nudibranch (a type of mollusk) found in one of the numerous tidal pools.

We left the Wilderness Adventurer via a small skiff boat and made a wet a landing on the shores of Halleck. Once on land, we analyzed our surroundings, set up our tents and built our fire on a small strip of beach. After having a mouth-watering beef tip stew and chocolate raspberry cake, we hiked out through the low tide to a look-out point . Once we reached our destination, we perched ourselves on the rocks a few feet above low tide and relaxed after a long day. Luck was on our side and we had our own show of breaching humpbacks, sea otters and flying eagles all against a painted sunset of warm earth tones.

mollusk

The name nudibranch translates into “naked lung”. The mollusk literally wears its lungs on the outside and feeds on small organisms.

worm

Three of our guests also discovered an annelid in the marsh-like grounds—a segmented worm. Each segment is said to contain a complete set of organs giving it the ability to survive numerous injuries.

Returning to our fire, we broke out the graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate for a campfire tradition of s'mores. Two of our guests visiting from Australia, had puzzled looks on their faces. After explaining what s'mores were and tasting their first round, they couldn't get enough of them.

Later in the evening, one of our guests found bear prints around the campsite. Luckily, that’s all we saw of the bear. Staying up late into the night, we enjoyed each others' company and the wild sounds of nature. The high tide eventually came in and extinguished the flames of the fire. Each and every footprint washed away and disappeared under the water. A night out in the woods of Alaska made for an unforgettable experience and gave us all a chance to connect with the Alaskan environment.



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