2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 1B, Day 7 – Bishop Bay – Lowe Inlet | NW Explorations


2022 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 1B, Day 7 – Bishop Bay – Lowe Inlet

Today’s blue skies and lifting clouds welcomed us into a lovely 49 nautical mile cruise. Along our trek we kept our eyes out for bald eagles, sea birds, whales, and the hopeful shore scouring bears. Enjoying our coastline investigations, before we knew it, we were pulling into the coves of Lowe Inlet.

The fleet tied up and settled in, shocked at just how quickly it felt like we had arrived at our anchorage. A group of us prepared for a remote hike along the Kumowdah River and poked around the shores a bit before we tucked into the forest.

Exploring the shores of Nettle Basin we found signs of recent bear activity, intriguing beach glasses, and structures of the rock lined beach that made us curious of their placement being due to natural phenomenon or a possible historic utility. After the whole hiking group was ashore and ready to embark to Verney Falls, we entered thicket full of lush life taking trails that had felt untouched for some time.

Making it to the first falls we took in our surroundings and scouted for a continuing trail that would lead us to the second falls. As we investigated for an opening onwards, it was clear that the only recent travelers on this trail had been wildlife, with clearings only to our knees and overgrown branches brushing our shoulders.

We met up with our Western Toad friends again and they joined us along our riverside walk to bask in the sun of the second falls. These amphibians are found around shallow ponds, lakes, streams, and marshy lands. In the last ten years there have been management plans set in place to assist in mitigating threats on their populations due to rapid declines. Impacts on their communities such as pesticide run off, deforestation, and increased populations of fish for sport fishing have affected their mortality rate dramatically. As we walked to the final destination of our hike, we watched our steps and made sure to pay as much respect to the environment as possible.

At the second falls we all rested like lizards on the dark rocks and let the white noise of the rushing water make for a perfect moment of pause. In August, the Kumdowah River is known for running salmon, leaping over these two falls to reach their breeding ground. As other creatures are attuned to this timeline too, seals will congregate at the river mouth and black bears will wait patiently along the riverbanks in hopes for a fresh catch. Watching waters flow with so much power, it was quite incredible to imagine the strength it takes of a salmon to win against the rushing currents, but then again, the intensity of the rivers do change quite a bit with the seasons.

Lowe Inlet is a Marine Provincial Park and is a very attractive and popular stop for mariners along the inside passage. Established in 1993, the almost 2,000 acre park is also traditional land of a First Nation Reserve. This marine park is in place just below the K’mooda/Lowe-Gamble Conservancy that consists of the connected Lowe, Weare, and Gamble Lakes feeding the Kumdowah River. Protecting remote fish and wildlife, this conservancy was established in 2006 and encourages the old-growth forests and wildlife habitats to stay undisturbed.

As we made our way back to our vessels and began to wrap up our evening’s adventures, we got a radio call from the Bonum crew that they had spotted a black bear resting along the nearby shores! As respectfully as we could, some members of the fleet visited the bear by dingy, respecting its grassy dinner. Offering the bear as much space as they needed to not feel threatened, we took inspiration from the happy healthy animal and began to wind down for a good night’s rest ourselves. Black bears are omnivores, meaning they will eat meat and vegetation, includes roots, berries, fish, insects, grasses, and succulent plants.

Finally tucked in, we were all so thankful to be spending tonight in the inlet’s serenity. A few other vessels had joined us as the setting sun created a peaceful evening over the water. As the light faded late into the night, the reflections of everyone’s anchor lights atop a glassy ocean delicately mimicked the bright stars overhead.

P.S. Is Alaska on your bucket list? We can take you there! Email us to reserve your spot on our 2023 Mother Goose AK Flotilla. charters@nwexplorations.com 

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