A few weeks ago as Aubrey and I boarded a plane headed for Juneau the flight attendants looked at our hiking boots and backpacks and asked joyfully, “going backpacking?” “Nope,” we replied, “we’re going to a wedding!” Truth be told, we were a little out of place with our hiking boots – we should have been wearing Xtratufs, the tall brown rubber rain boots everyone in Alaska has at least 3 pairs of. After spending the night in Juneau, we boarded a catamaran with 150 or more other guests headed for the small village of Pelican (the typical population is less than 100).

Pelican, Lisianski Inlet, Southeast Alaska

Pelican : Prints Available

The village of Pelican, Alaska, nestled among the mountains along Lisianski inlet in Southeast Alaska.

Somehow our friends who were getting married not only planned the wedding and transportation, but also managed to find a place for everyone to stay despite doubling, or perhaps even tripling, the population for the weekend.

The ever present rain lightened up for the ceremony on the beach, and afterwards we feasted on smoked and grilled salmon, halibut, herring egg salad, and crab. All of which was of course caught within a few hours boat ride of Pelican.

Dinner

Fresh salmon abounds in Pelican, AK.

After the wedding, our friends graciously ferried a group of us to the White Sulphur Hotsprings on the outer coast of Chichagof Island. Here, a hundred yards above the storm tide line, are two pleasantly hot pools: one outside, and one with a wood cabin built around it with an open window to the Pacific. For two nights we enjoyed the remote location, the hot pools, and the crackling fires.

Loading the Skiff

Access to the springs is only by boat, or float plane.

White Sulphur Hotsprings, Chichagof Island, Southeast Alaska

Time for a Soak : Prints Available

The inviting water of the White Sulphur Hotsprings on the outer coast of Chichagof Island in Southeast Alaska.

White Sulphur Hotsprings, Chichagof Island, Southeast Alaska

Bliss : Prints Available

Me, soaking in the delightfully hot water of the White Sulphur Hotsprings on the outer coast of Chichagof Island in Southeast Alaska.

Bobbie the Lumberjack

Bobbie chops some wood for the campfire.

Hotsprings Campfire

Good times with good friends.

The long days (3am-11pm) gave us plenty of time to explore the coastline on either side of the hot springs. We saw whales, otters, birds, and lots of bear poop. It was refreshing to return to such a green and wet place, so full of life, and so devoid of human impact.

Seaweeds, Chichagof Island, Southeast Alaska

Northwest Salad : Prints Available

A diverse arrangement of seaweeds collected at low tide along the outer coast of Chichagof Island in Southeast Alaska.

On our first evening the clouds parted, and we saw the sun for the first and only time that week. I hiked out to a spot Aubrey and I had found earlier in the day across the bay from the hot springs. Here, small rain water pools were surrounded by zen arrangements of moss and miniature trees. There was plenty of evidence of bears enjoying this spot, too, but fortunately they let me be that evening.

Click image for larger view – in the full res version you can see the hot spring cabin across the bay.

Sunset, Chichagof Island, Southeast Alaska

Southeast Sunset : Prints Available

A spectacular sunset on the outer coast of Chichagof Island in Southeast Alaska. In the distance is the White Sulphur Hotsprings - a most incredible spot to relax!

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2 Comments to “Southeast Alaskan Summers”

  1. Haijo de Jong says:

    This is fantastic. I am living in the Netherands, (after many years in Africa), however there is hardly any nature overhere. So I love your photo’s made in Alaska and the wedding trip story. I love nature and long for it it very much. One of the reasons I love your pictures you have made.

  2. Nice place, make me remenber south chilean pacic channels.