Alaska’s Lost Coast is comprised of extensive sand and gravel beaches stretching for hundreds of miles and is nearly completely uninhabited. The sand is littered with rocks and boulders left by glaciers as they retreated back into the mountains over the course of thousands of years. The skeletons of huge trees plucked from the coast by the giant storms which pummel this area throughout the winter are brought ashore by large surf and tides, creating a maze for us to navigate.
Moving inland we go from the sandy and rocky beaches to tidal flats covered in tall beach grasses and finally into the coastal temperate rainforest which lines the entire southern coast of Alaska. The forest floor covered in lush green moss, devil’s club and a myriad of other small plants. Huge spruce, hemlocks and cedars stand tall and the forest floor is covered with their predecessors leaning or lying on the ground in various stages of decay. Enormous boulders left by retreating glaciers are interspersed amongst these giants at times giving the great trees anchor against the brutal winter storms.
After weaving your way through the forest using paths established by wolves, bears and moose you will finally start to ascend out of the forest and into the mountains of the Fairweather Range. The fingers of smaller glaciers, La Perouse, Finger and Crillon, flow through valleys they have carved and around mountains originating at the great Brady Glacier and eventually flowing to their terminus and the sea in the form of water.
From the start of our trip at La Perouse Glacier to the end at Lituya Bay, there is only about 20 miles of coastline, but a lifetime of exploring can be done in this area. We have 7 days to spend exploring the glaciers, forests and mountains and we can choose to break up our week with travel days as we move toward our pick up point or rest days leaving camp set up and venturing out on day hikes unencumbered by our packs.
While this section of Alaska’s Lost Coast is truly mesmerizing any time of the spring and summer, we prefer to see it between late April and late July in hopes of missing out on any of the large storms which blanket this coast through out the year.
Wildlife on this coast is abundant and while we never guarantee that we will see any particular species the likelihood is great. Large populations of coastal brown bears, wolves, and moose reside here as well as many other species. In the spring this area also sees huge numbers of migrating birds which number in the hundreds of thousands as they make their way back north to Alaska.
We will fill our days with hiking and beach combing, day hiking up into the forests and on to the ice of flowing glaciers. If we are feeling the work we can take days to simply enjoy camp and have a fire on the beach or maybe watch for that brown bear we all want to see, at a distance of course.
No matter what we choose to do each day your guide is there to help you discover your own personal connection to this wilderness, whether through education, as a leader or just to give you peace of mind. While hiking on the coast is quite comfortable, this is Alaska, and there are no trails other than bear trails so be prepared for challenges.