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Authentic Alaskan Rain


By Kent Redell, expedition guide, Safari Endeavour

Everyone hopes for sunny vacations. Ideal conditions.

But expectations can lead to disappointment.

When travelling to Southeast Alaska, it’s worth noting the Inside Passage is a temperate rainforest. Although short stretches of sunshine may grace you with their presence, the authentic experience will include rain.

rain in SE Alaska

A rainy day in SE Alaska, but don't let that stop you from exploring

I’ve been in Southeast for about a month now, and it has been a dry stretch. With below average precipitation, I’ve noticed things to be a bit more dry than usual, and an unusual haze hovering over the landscape from evapotranspiration; simply put, the moisture associated with the ‘exhalation’ by trees of Southeast’s forests.

This week was welcomed with several days of rain. I sometimes expect it will keep people from leaving the warmth of the vessel, but this week’s guests came to play in the rain! The rain didn’t stop a single soul!

kayaking in the rain

Kayaking is a great way to explore, even in the rain

In addition, our passengers collectively put a list of descriptors to describe the rain: pouring, drizzle, mist, steady, persistent, insistent, and intermittent, among many others. My personal favorite associated with rainy weather is petrichor; (n) a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.

mossy forest

Lots of moss grows in Alaska's temperate rainforest. What does it need? Yes, rain!

Maritime weather generated by the Alaska Current makes for warm winters and cool summers, allowing persistent rain and cloud cover that blocks out the sun for about 85% of the year. The consistent precipitation feeds 50,000 miles of rivers and streams in the Tongass National Forest alone, which accounts for only about ¾ of the land in Southeast.

The descent of the skies towards Earth sustains the biomass this land boasts. The rich wildlife sustained by the biomass makes this land wild.

A river meanders

I sure do love the wilds of Alaska.

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