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PACIFIC | A L A SK A

Magic of the Mistys Awe-inspiring natural wonders are a playground for adventure seekers

I

used to think fjords were only found in faraway countries like Norway or New Zealand. They seemed so exotic, so otherworldly, that I couldn’t imagine them existing in my own backyard. But soon after moving to Alaska, I discovered that some of the planet’s most stunning fjords lie here in our 49th state. Located outside Ketchikan, Alaska, the Misty Fjords National Monument spreads across more than 2.1 million acres and is pure wilderness, with no road access and only a few remote cabins within its

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borders. Its features, like its size, are striking: 3,000-foot granite cliffs sculpted by glaciers 18,000 years ago, shooting straight into the Pacific Ocean. Expect tumbling waterfalls, snowy peaks and glacial lakes. The landscape boasts towering red and yellow cedars, Sitka spruce and western hemlock that have been alive for 500 to 900 plus years — and will likely outlast us all. Each element is part of the Misty Fjords’ temperate rainforest ecosystem, which is fed by 150 inches of rain each year. That precipitation is vital to the

GO ESCAPE | SUMMER 2018

flora, as well as the fauna, which includes eagles, mountain goats, humpback whales, orcas, Dall’s porpoises, harbor and elephant seals, wolves and bears. “It has everything and more of what you would expect of wilderness in Alaska,” says Martin Stanford, an archaeologist for the Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District. “The almost constant precipitation and lowhanging clouds create contemplative moods, great photographic opportunities and a thick rainforest that grows everywhere.” Also part of the adventure? Getting there. There are few ways to access the >

ALLEN MARINE TOURS; MARK MEYER

BY SUSAN SHAIN

Profile for STUDIO Gannett

GO ESCAPE SUMMER 2018  

GO ESCAPE SUMMER 2018