Although the core of an expedition voyage is usually thought to consist of experiences in far-flung, hard-to-reach places, sometimes a town visit is just the thing. A day spent in outdoorsy Haines, Alaska, afforded us an invigorating mix of adventures with local guides and relaxed glimpses of life here along the northernmost reaches of the Inside Passage. High spirits prevailed, buoyed by abundant and cheerful spring sunshine and panoramic views of the town’s spectacular mountainous surroundings.

Pigeon guillemots, terns, and bald eagles greeted us on the waterfront as we set out for activities: mountain hikes, cycling tours, fly fishing outings, river floats, and experiences with the culture and stories of the people who have lived on this land and paddled these waters for millennia. As a calm and quiet Saturday morning gave way to a breezy afternoon, streets and shops came alive with locals taking advantage of the weather to run errands and catch up with friends and neighbors. It was refreshing to trade stories and rub shoulders with townsfolk, before returning to National Geographic Sea Lion to continue onward as our own shipboard community.