Spring is a time for new beginnings and a great opportunity to see wildlife.
Some folks think Alaska is still too cold in the spring, too much like winter. However, the secret of spring in Southeast Alaska is that although the weather does waffle between chilly and rainy, you also get some of the most beautiful sunny days Southeast has to offer.
The other secret it holds is the incredible bloom of new life.
This week as we ventured to Glacier Bay on the Wilderness Adventurer, we got to see that new life in action. We happened upon four nanny goats and their newborn kids on Gloomy Knob, a wildlife viewing area in the West Arm of Glacier Bay.
We watched the baby goats chasing and ducking through the legs of the mama goats.
As we continued on our way towards the glaciers, I heard a passenger yell out, “There are four bears!” I quickly ran up to the bridge and told them, “Slow down! There are bears and cubs.”
We stayed for a while watching the cubs scramble up the steep cliff sides following mama bear.
On Friday in Neka Bay, across Icy Straight and near the town of Hoonah, we had another mama and baby bear wandering along the beach as the guests enjoyed an open paddle around the ship in kayaks and paddle boards.
As we peeked into Johns Hopkins Inlet from Jaw Point in Glacier Bay we saw the seals through our binoculars hauled out on the icebergs.
Johns Hopkins inlet stays closed until July 1 to protect the pupping Harbor Seals. We had also gotten to see these seals and their babies in Endicott Arm on day 1 of our adventure up near Dawes Glacier.
The wildlife wasn’t alone in enjoying the sunny spring days.
Many new plants and flowers are blooming now and after a trek bushwhacking up a steep hill our group was rewarded with beautiful blooming purple lupine.
We also saw Nagoonberry blossoms on our descent from the hill. Nagoon comes from the Tlingit word and roughly translates to “jewel of the forest” because not only are the blossoms a beautiful magenta color but the berries themselves are a deep ruby tone.
There have also been many other flowers showing their colors such as salmonberry blossoms, flox and yellow marsh marigold.
The spruce trees are starting new life as well, as the new boughs bloom. These “spruce tips” are used locally in medicine, beer and to steep teas.
I always love coming back to Alaska at this time of year to see everything rise from the winter slumber. It’s a unique time of year and it never gets old.