My Favorite Activities in Alaska

07-27-2018

Madeline S., 13 year old UnCruiser

On an UnCruise, each day presents many different options for adventure. You can beach walk, skiff tour, bushwhack, kayak, or hike—maybe all in one day. While all activities are exciting and adventurous, here are a few of my favorites.

Kayaking

It was our first day on the S.S. Legacy, and my mom and I had signed up to go kayaking. We were all suited up with rain gear, spray skirts, life jackets and all, waiting to be given the okay to head down to the Sea Dragon.

The water was still and peaceful, the trees reflected off the ocean in a mirror-like way. As the group began paddling, I became more aware of the beautiful surroundings. Our guide was educating us on the life in these kinds of areas in Southeast Alaska while we paddled away from the ship.

Once the ship was out of sight, we began getting closer to the shore and keeping our eyes peeled for wildlife. We noticed many eagles in the trees, including a couple that were involved in a fight. Underneath our kayaks were many lion mane jellyfish. We looped around an island and got into the nooks and crannies of the area before circling back to the ship after a few hours. Although we didn’t see any bears or large wildlife, that paddle was one to remember.

Bushwhacking

I went on four bushwhack excursions during my time in Alaska. I had a great time during all of them, but the second one was one of my favorites. Our group was dropped off far away from the ship, about a 20 minute skiff ride. After looking at organisms on the beach for a few minutes, we began our descent into the forest, which started with trudging through a field of very long grass. Our guide told us we needed to make loud noises to alert the bears that we had arrived, so we began howling, yelling, and singing songs.

After we got through the entrance, the forest opened up into a beautiful clearing, the trees created a canopy above. We came across a wide stream, sloping downward on a hill. What did we decide to do? Climb through the stream. This is where the rain boots really came in handy. I snapped a picture before grabbing a sturdy rock and climbing down.

Bushwhacking through the forest

Eventually, we turned off the stream and started climbing an almost vertical slope. It was quite soft, and had been engulfed in mosses over the years, but it was also covered in devil's club. Once at the top, we zig zagged through bushes, trees, mosses and more. After an hour or two of singing, talking, listening, and learning about the forest ecosystems, our guides had the idea of playing a game in the forest called camoflauge.

This is how it worked. There was one person standing in a place who wasn’t allowed to move. While she closed her eyes and counted, we all hid in the forest. The rule was we had to be able to see her from our hiding spots; you couldn't hide behind a big tree trunk. Everyone shed their bright rain jackets to blend in better. We played for a very long time.

I dove into a bush, hid beside a tree, crawled under a log, and more. By the end, we were covered in mud, rain, and plants. It was the most fun I have ever had in one morning.

The Whack & Yak

This was an all-day excursion. Right after breakfast, I geared up, put my things in my backpack, and went down to the lounge to grab lunch to go. Our group met at 9:15 am to take a skiff to our destination. We would start off by bushwhacking, and end with kayaking. It was another beautiful day. The sun was shining, the skies were blue, and we were surrounded by mountains, water and trees.

On our way into the forest, we came across a big spot of BSM (boot sucking mud). A couple people's boots got completely sucked off their feet, and it took a lot of muscle to get the boots out.

After, we climbed up tree logs to a higher part of the forest and from there, we bushwhacked and bushwhacked. We came across a muskeg, which was very squishy, moist, and fun to lie in. We bushwhacked for a couple hours until we took a break to eat some energy bars made by the galley.

Three hours passed before we stopped for lunch by a beach. We sat in tall grass, looking towards the mountains and the water. After, we laid down and simply listened to the noises around us for a few minutes. With the sun beaming down on us, waves crashing on the shore, and birds chirping from the forest, we tried to take it all in.

Kayaking all day!

Soon enough, it was time to get going again. We still had more bushwhacking to do. We set off into the woods again, making as much noise as we could. We finally found our kayaks, a little more than an hour later. Once we set off on them, everything started out peaceful, there was no wind. When we got into the more exposed ocean however, we were challenged with current, wind, and waves.

The ship was far away, and the conditions were not helping us to get there. As I paddled like my life depended on it, we slowly inched our way to the ship. After lots of hard work, we finally made it back safely. After all the kayaking, I was positive I would have tons of upper body strength. The whack and yak was a fun adventure. I would choose to do it again in a heartbeat.

No matter what activities you pick to do during your UnCruise, whether it’s a beach walk, kayak, bushwhack, skiff tour, or something else, be prepared to have fun and remember to always bring your sense of adventure!



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