Bushwhacking! When given an opportunity to hike in Southeast Alaska, there is no experience more rewarding than bushwhacking. Bushwhacking is exactly what it sounds like. Guests are led on a hike without trails or a set path, making their way through the lush rainforest of Southeast Alaska. It is a true exploration adventure, and it is my absolute favorite thing to do.
Today we spent our morning on the northwest side of Chichagof Island, anchored in Salt Chuck Bay. This picturesque bay is surrounded by steep mountains. At the back of the bay, there is a hidden salt chuck, a tidal lake where saltwater is covered by a layer of incoming freshwater from surrounding streams.
I led a group of intrepid explorers on a bushwhack. We landed at the mouth of the salt chuck. We began our hike with an easy trek across a tidal mudflat and the meadow above it, then around the edge of the salt chuck. At the back of the salt chuck, we met the incoming stream and followed it back to a shallow pond filled with yellow pond lilies and surrounded by a wet meadow. We ascended beyond the meadow, up and down over logs, through blueberry bushes, and around the edges of muskegs, which are Alaskan bogs. Along the way, we discovered five orchid species, mother bear and bear cub tracks, moose tracks, and delightful edible plants. Finally, we found ourselves at the edge of a steep muddy slope that we carefully slid down to reach a beach on the outer edge of the bay. We radioed for a Zodiac while shaking twigs from our hair before heading back to the mother ship for a well-deserved lunch.