A mere 250 years ago, the entirety of Glacier Bay was under ice. Today, most of that ice has melted away, and in its place is every plant and animal that you would expect to find in this ecosystem. Whether it is a brown bear on the beach, a mountain goat on Gloomy Knob, a puffin at South Marble Island, or an eagle at Margerie Glacier. All the bird and mammal species that you would expect at this latitude are not only present but abundant.
Today we saw all these critters as well as sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, and humpback whales. We saw horned puffins, tufted puffins, cormorants, and kittiwakes. We saw an evolving ecosystem still wrenching itself out of the Little Ice Age.
After dinner, we came ashore to learn that this special place is not just rich in natural history, but the cultural history too. Stories of the Tlingit culture are told by the totem poles, carvings in the trees and intricately crafted panels of the Tlingit Tribal House—Huna Shuka Hit.
Walking through the temperate rain forest, these stories told in the totems echo and reverberate through moss, lichen, leaves and light.