It was a partly cloudy morning as National Geographic Sea Lion made its final approach into Haines, Alaska. Many exciting activities were planned for the day, including a river float, a cycling tour, or hiking to Battery Point or Mt. Riley. We excitedly finished our breakfast and boarded Zodiacs to head to shore. The rain held off for the entire morning, so morning activities were “rain gear free.” Haines is a relatively small borough in Alaska with a population of just over 2,000 permanent residents. The original Tlingit name for Haines is Deishu, which means “end of the trail.” The Chilkat group gave the place this name because they could carry canoes into the interior from Haines.

As we began our morning hikes, the diversity of wildflowers in the area was incredible. Wild irises, geraniums, beach peas, and Sitka roses were just a few of the species present. We hiked through an old growth forest, which was a mix of Sitka spruces and western hemlocks. Red alders dotted the shoreline. The forest was incredibly beautiful. Arctic terns could be seen diving for food as flocks of surf scoters foraged along the shoreline. We took in the views across Lynn Canal from our hiking vantage point before we headed back toward town. In the afternoon, many of us enjoyed free time in town while others switched out with some of the morning tours for a second round. All in all, it was an amazing day spent exploring Haines and the surrounding area.