Lake Eva, Peril Strait

May 31, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Lion

Morning in the forest is an excellent way to greet the day. The path to Lake Eva was smooth enough for sturdy footing and dry enough to avoid slips. The forest awakened with us. The birds sang sweet invitations to their mates. Fragrances of blooming flowers and damp vegetation filled the spaces between the trees. The trees seemed to spill over the rocks with their roots covered blanketed the bedrock. The canopy stretched to the sky. Like small mammals that live underground, we travelled well-worn paths under the green of the Tongass National Forest. Everywhere we had reminders of the bears who live here.

Scat on the path, footprints in the mud, and wide pathways that intersected with our own kept our attention from wandering. We watched carefully for long speckled banana slugs that slowly slid their way across the trail. The long walk to Lake Eva gave us ample opportunity to stretch our legs. The lake itself was marbled with spruce pollen but the trumpeter swan on the far shore was a pure white miracle. She kept her eye on us for long moments before unfurling that snake of a neck and dipping her face in the water of her own reflection.

All too soon it was time to haul in the last zodiac and head for Sitka. The weather, which has been tropical all week, suggests that Alaska’s Southeast is really a rainforest. The mist made our journey through Peril Strait and Sergius Narrows a mystical experience. Bald eagles stood atop spruce trees and in the back of a cove one massive brown bear tasted the grasses and sedges at his feet.

Our National Geographic photographer gave a talk on photography from other locales. His images inspired us all to think about where else the wonders of the world are available to us. It has been a perfect week. The sunshine and the wildlife as well as the sparkling glacier ice will linger in our thoughts long after we unpack our bags at home. Our trip leaves us with new stories. Our experiences sing themselves into the fabric of our lives, adding a new color of vibrant memories.

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About the Author

Marylou Blakeslee


For the past 20 years, Marylou Blakeslee has traveled the world sharing her love of wild places. She lectures on a number of topics from the bears and wolves of the Arctic, to the leopard seals and whales of the Antarctic, as well as the turtles and fishes of the Great Barrier Reef.

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