Orginally published in the Huffington Post
10/09/2016 11:49 am ET
by Patti Morrow
Travel writer, travel blogger, travel photographer
Hiking in lush magical forests, responsible encounters with grizzly bears, bald eagles, and humpback whales, kayaking in the stillness of secluded mountain-lined bays and inlets. A land where the population of bears exceeds that of humans, few places on earth can satisfy the wanderlust of the off-the-beaten-path adventurer in search of the wild nature and the cultural richness of the Tlingit Indians like Baranof Island.
Baranof Island, along with Admiralty and Chicagof, compromise the ABC Islands on southern Alaska’s panhandle, part of Alaska’s Inside Passage. Slightly smaller than Delaware, it’s the tenth largest island in the United States, most of which is designated as Tongass National Forest, the nation’s largest national forest. Baranof is remote, rugged and picturesque, from its towering peaks to deep lakes.
We journeyed aboard the Westward with an outfit called AdventureSmith Explorations an eco-adventure tour company promoting responsible and sustainable travel. The Westward is an 8-passenger/3-crew historic wooden yacht, just 86 feet long, which allows it to enter coves in Alaska’s Inside Passage which are too shallow for larger ships to safely navigate. The seldom-explored, secluded bays, channels, and islets are ideal for sea kayaking and whale watching.
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