The move from the capital city of Juneau to the village of Angoon, located on the west side of Admiralty Island is a dramatic one. The hustle and bustle you experienced in Juneau fades away as you arrive in this village of 450 residents in the middle of old-growth temperate rain forest on the shores of Chatham Straight. This village is deep in the Tongass National Forest, home to generations of Tlingit people who have named this area Kootznoowoo or “Fortress of the Bears” for the dense population of brown bears on the island. There are many more bears on Admiralty Island than there are people but, not to worry, your guide lives and works in this temperate rain forest, and has traveled through it safely and respectfully for years.
Our trip will have us hiking over portages between inland lakes as we move across Admiralty Island. We are living and traveling in one of the largest expanses of wilderness in the world, an intact ecosystem containing a wide and diverse number of species including brown bears, black bears, wolves, Sitka blacktail deer and moose. As we hike and paddle from one lake to another, we are constantly on the lookout, hoping to catch a glimpse of these wild creatures.
As the first part of our trip comes to an end, we will emerge from the forest onto the tidal flats of Mole Harbor, a bay on Seymour Canal. If we are on schedule, we can set up camp and explore the shores of this salt water bay on foot or by packraft, maybe glimpsing humpback whales or sea lions from our stealth craft.
Waking in the morning as we wait for our water taxi, we can take the morning to explore Mole Harbor further or just hang around camp relaxing as we wait for our ride to the north end of Seymour Canal
Located near the northern end of Admiralty Island is Oliver Inlet, a long narrow inlet only accessible at the right tides and will be the beginning of the second part of our adventure. Using a tramway we will travel from Oliver Inlet, overland, along with all our gear to the northern end of Seymour canal, where we will spend the majority of our trip. We will spend the next 4-5 days exploring the shores of Seymour Canal by kayak and venturing into the forest that surrounds it. In the spring, this area historically will see large congregations of herring that come here to spawn. This brings in tremendous numbers of marine mammals and sea birds who are welcoming one of the first large appearances of biomass of the season and which provides great opportunities for these species to feed. Humpback Whales and Orca, along with Stellar Sea Lions and Harbor seals, just to name a few, will appear in these waters in great numbers. Later in the spring and summer, salmon enter the creeks along the shores of Seymour Canal, bringing brown and black bears to their shores and creates wonderful opportunities for bear viewing. In fact this area is home to Pack Creek a world renowned bear viewing area and one of our stops on this week long adventure in Southeast Alaska
Meet your guide in Angoon for pre-trip meeting.
After breakfast we will meet to get our gear situated and then depart Angoon via water taxi or aboard our pack rafts
After arriving at the beginning of our first portage, near the back of Mitchell Bay, we will spend the next 3-4 days crossing the fortress of the bears. We will traverse the first portage, the longest of the trail sections, to the south end of Davisdson lake, getting the toughest part of the trip out of the way early. The rest of our trip sees us linking the many lakes that are spread across Admiralty Island, with portages, eventually leading to our destination on the east side of the island at Mole Harbor. We will paddle lakes with names like Lake Distin, Guerin and Hasselborg and experience the diverse natural and cultural history that is present in this land. Depending on our trip length we have the options to explore other lakes in this incredible chain of fresh water, along with the portages that connect them. Along with the great opportunities to explore the trails that weave there way across the island and the shores of the lakes that dot the landscape, we will have ample time to take in the stunning temperate rainforest and do some fishing in what some consider an anglers paradise.
Having arrived in Mole Harbor the afternoon or evening before we can rise slowly if we like and have one last breakfast in camp. If the weather cooperates today, we will catch our water tai today and head north to Oliver Inlet and trade our pack rafts for sea kayaks
We will spend the next 4-5 days exploring the shores of Seymour Canal. We will camp just above the high tide line on gravel beaches or tucked up into the forest to escape a breeze if it kicks up. In the evenings we can relax with a cup after a full day of paddling or exploring the temperate rainforest of the Tongass National Forest. If the mood strikes we can also take some time to do some fishing, in the evenings, or even during a mid day lunch break. During our week in Seymour canal we will also have the opportunity to spend a day or 2 at Pack Creek giving us the opportunity to watch brown, or Grizzlie Bears, as they are also known, in their natural habitat.
On our last morning we can rise slowly if we like and have one last breakfast in camp. If the weather cooperates today, we will catch our ride back to Juneau via our water taxi, by late afternoon, giving us a good portion of the day to explore, or just hang around camp if we so choose.
Boat Charter between Seymour Canal and Juneau
Food while in the field
Group camping gear
Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads
Kayak, pack rafts, paddle, PFD, safety gear
Professional guide service
Lodging while not in the field
Food while not in the field
Gratuity for guide(s)