Last month, I had the opportunity to visit Sitka, Alaska. This little town located on Baranof Island in the southeastern Alaskan panhandle absolutely stole my heart. I have never before experienced such untouched and raw natural beauty. I was pleasantly surprised to see the abundance of wildlife thriving on and around the island – including seals, sea lions, otters, jellyfish, humpback whales and too many bald eagles to count. We even got a private tour of the Alaska Raptor Center, a rehabilitation center that provides medical treatment for injured bald eagles, hawks, owls and other birds. My top wildlife experience while in Sitka, however, has got to be witnessing a humpback whale surface only 10 feet away from our boat. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love whales so this encounter truly was a dream come true.
I was blessed with clear, sunny weather during my time in Sitka so we were able to fully immerse ourselves in nature and go on multiple amazing hikes. By far the most memorable of these was the hike to the top of Mt. Verstovia, a 3,000ft peak that rises above Sitka Sound and offers absolutely stunning 360 degree views. Looking west, you see the town of Sitka below and Pacific ocean that stretches out and eventually touches Russia. Looking south, you have a great view of Silver Bay and the mountains / glaciers in the distance. We could even see whales surfacing in the channel below us.
We also spent the night on a floating cabin in the middle of the ocean (best stars I’ve ever seen) on our way south to Goddard Hot Springs. These undeveloped, natural mineral springs can only be reached by boat and provided a truly Alaskan experience.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to visit such a stunning place and cannot wait to explore other parts of Alaska someday!