Friday, June 20, 2014

Misty Fjords National Monument, Alaska

There certainly are places that are as beautiful as Misty Fjords National Monument. I don't think there are any places that are prettier.

This was designated as wilderness in 1980 and takes up more than 2 million acres. It receives more than 160 inches of rain a year, and thus is as green as you can imagine. Much of it looks as if no human being has ever set foot on it, which considering the topography is probably true.

Visiting it isn't easy, but it's worth it. We took a floatplane from Ketchikan, taking off from the Tongass Narrows a short distance from our cruise dock. The plane needs only several minutes to get to the National Monument. After taking a look around, the place actually lands in the middle of a mountain lake which is surrounded by glacier-chiseled cliffs. Riders then can actually get out of the plane and stand on the floatation devices that stand in for landing wheels. (The above picture was taken from there; I can't imagine what a sunny day looks like there.) The only sounds come from the waterfalls in the immediate area. After a too-short stay, it's back up in the area for another look around before heading for the departure point.

A tip: Tourists from the cruises are swarmed by representatives of floatplane companies as soon as they get off the boat. The aggressiveness is bit startling and leaves a slightly bad taste. We had set up a reservation for a flight in advance with ProMech Air, and were treated quite well. Other companies probably do as good a job as that one, but they didn't shout at me in order to get my business.

Sure enough, someone else did a video of a similar trip.

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