A Springtime Stroll in Alaska
By Nikki Baran, expedition guide on the Wilderness Adventurer
Alaska is awake and spring has sprung! Upon mention of the word “spring”, one often conjures an image of bright wildflowers. Our trip to Dundas Bay, the outback of Glacier Bay, provided that. Our land activities included a meadow stroll and a muskeg hike, and both presented us with stunning springtime colors.
Chocolate lilies, lupine, and shooting stars abound, we couldn’t take more than a few steps without out stopping to smell the roses, pun definitely intended! Chocolate lilies are a perfect example of Alaska’s sense of humor. The beautiful brown petals begged to be sniffed but if you act upon that urge you’ll be unpleasantly surprised by their odor, which can only be described as rotting garbage on a hot, sunny day. The flower’s odor ensures pollination however, as the rotting garbage scent attracts flies as if it were a sweet, French perfume.
Finally making its appearance in the muskeg, our lead guide, Jess Picinich, pointed out a unique plant, African Sundew, a carnivorous plant that uses its dew-tipped arms to capture and digest insects, absorbing nitrogen from the tissues. We enjoyed stepping around the delightful pops of color provided by the bog laurel and dwarf dogwood. The elevation of the muskeg awarded us supreme views of majestic Dundas Bay. We carefully hiked through the muskeg, ensuring never to step in the same place twice. Muskegs are very delicate ecosystems that we treasure and must educate others on how to protect them!