In the morning, National Geographic Sea Lion docked in the small, pleasant town of Wrangell for our day of adventure. The sun was shining as the whole group loaded into jet boats to explore the Stikine River and see what the area had to show us. We set out on our journey at very low tide and got to watch the water ripple around rocks hidden just under the surface. Our captains used their years of experience and knowledge of the area to deftly navigate the waterway and enter the Stikine River.
Most of the river basin is wilderness area, and indigenous people have been using this river for a very long time. The Stikine River is a fast-flowing, transboundary river, with the majority of its length and drainage basins lying in Canada. Our jet boats cruised the river in search of moose, bears, and migrating birds as we made our way to Stikine Lake. As we entered Stikine Lake, we started cruising past pieces of ice. Slowly, the alder shrubs along the shore gave way to steep granite walls where we began searching for mountain goats. As we searched for these nimble, hoofed, cloud-like creatures, we could see Shakes Glacier at the far end of the lake.
After returning to the vessel for lunch, we spent the afternoon enjoying some of the wonders of Wrangell. We went to Chief Shakes House, a Tlingit tribal house where we learned about the Tlingit culture and history. We went looking for 8,000-year-old petroglyphs at the beach, and then split up for hikes. Some of us went up Mount Dewey to gain an overlook of the town and the water, while others went on a nature trail on the east side of town to peek into the forest and find hidden secrets.