Today was our lay day in Wrangell. For most of us, it meant a day of sightseeing, relaxing and catching up on chores. For a couple of our groups it meant crew changes. On Discovery, Ally and Garrett had to head home and some longtime family friends, Marilyn and Adney flew in to join John and Gail for the rest of the trip. On Victoria, Becky flew out and Rich and Mona joined the group. Those who left will be missed but we are excited to welcome the newcomers to our fleet.
The day in Wrangell also offered great opportunities to explore. For the crews of Patos and Discovery this meant heading out to the Anan Bear Observatory. The trip included about an hour boat ride south to Anan Creek. This small creek boasts one of the largest pink salmon runs in Southeast Alaska. Bears, seals, sea lions, eagles and ravens congregate here in great numbers to feed on the salmon.
The forest service has built a wooden boardwalk trail and observatory platform right above the falls where the bears hang out. They closely monitor how many people can come to the observatory per day. Even just walking along the trail to get to the falls we encountered two black bears closer than we’d ever been before! It was an incredible experience to be so close to wild bears and to be able to observe them as they fished for salmon and interacted with one another. We were able to see close to a dozen black bears, and even some cubs, fishing from the stream. It was truly an unforgettable experience.
Don and Carlyne on Bonum Vitae had an adventurous day as well. They biked to a nearby beach in search of petroglyphs, and found many. They also went to the Wrangell museum and learned that in lieu of a movie theater the museum puts on movie nights on the weekends. Tonight’s feature film was “Spider Man.” Apparently, the whole town comes out for these showings.
Some of the crews also hiked up Dewey Point. This short but steep trail leaves right from town and takes you up to a great overlook of the city and the surrounding waterways and islands. John Muir himself hiked to the top of this hill and built himself a bonfire to wait out a storm. As the evening wore on, the sky cleared and we were granted with some beautiful sun bursts. All in all, it was a wonderful day, full of wildlife, history, and wonder.