Travel: Alaska’s Inside Passage

Photo uploaded by rowland-w

Photo uploaded by rowland-w

Everyone has a personal list of “1000 places to see before you die.” Frankly, a thousand is a lot of places. I’m not sure I could reach that number even if I count the local dry cleaners and Mexican restaurant. But one place that’s on my must-see list is the Inside Passage.

Along this 500-mile route are more than a thousand islands and 15,000 miles of shoreline. Rough, historic towns like Skagway, where hopeful miners debarked for the Klondike gold rush. And Sitka, Alaska’s first capital city. A visit to Juneau, Southeast Alaska’s booming metropolis (pop. 30,981) could be interesting as well. I’ve heard they have a pretty popular woman governor up there.

You almost have to approach the Inside Passage from the sea. It’s not like the Pacific Coast Highway, where you can drive along and see the coast unfurl before you. Alaska’s highway system only reaches three towns in the region. All the others are accessible by an extensive ferry system.

Uploaded by north/south connection

Uploaded by north/south connection

One of the highlights of the Inside Passage is the variety of wildlife. Whales, particularly humpback whales, are frequent visitors in these icy waters. Bears can be seen hunting for fish along the riverbanks. And Alaska has a thriving population of eagles, often seen circling above in search of salmon.

Snow-capped mountains. Glaciers and fjords. National parks. It’s scenery available nowhere else in this country, so no wonder it’s one of the 1000 things to see before you…you know.

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