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The Magic of Bartlett Cove


By Michael Patterson, licensed deckhand, Wilderness Discoverer

Spending time in Bartlett Cove is just the beginning of the incredible place that is Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

Time spent here is a beautiful and peaceful experience. This was my first week in the park and I was able to take a walk with a group of guests and an expedition guide through the area. The wonders of the temperate rainforest came alive with her interpretation. I saw and learned about very interesting things growing on and off the giant Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, and other trees that populate the area. The biodiversity is amazing; so many different greens!

Welcome to Bartlett Cove

And then there is the wildlife - a moose just sitting politely off the trail, and then a bear walking along the road eating grasses and berries. As we passed a small pond, a Varied Thrush called its monotone song, a regal Bald Eagle came into view, and some lilies were flowering in the pond itself.

Along the trail I happened upon a carving on a tree made by the local Huna Tlingit people. This carving has special meaning for both locals and the National Park, representing the improving relationship between them.

Snow the whale

After the walk through the forest we arrived at the skeleton of a humpback whale named Snow, on display as a reminder for all to take extreme care while in the habitat of these magnificent creatures. The display next to Snow was my personal favorite--quietly sitting by itself was a handmade Tlinget wooden boat. It is beautifully constructed and well-preserved for all to see. The hand-sewn planks and carvings are a testament to the wood working skills of the local people.

After viewing the sites, a comfortable rest and a cup of tea or coffee were in order. The lodge has a splendid view and lots of comfortable places to sit. The modest gift shop served as a great place to find souvenirs and while enjoying a comfortable rest with my favorite beverage, I began to read more about the Park and all the different activities available, like kayaking, camping, fishing, hiking and more.

Bear prints

As we left the protected waters of Bartlett Cove, we were met a little further out by swarms of birds fishing from a giant bait ball of fish. It’s a non-stop wilderness fun park and only the beginning of the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve!

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