|Go To See Alaska - Part 9 -
Ketchikan and Misty Fjords National Monument
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Spectacular scenery of soaring cliffs in Punchbowl Cove in Misty Fjords National Monument on the raining day
of August 10, 2009.
The stunning Misty Fiords National Monument is a natural mosaic of sea cliffs, steep fjords, rock walls jutting
3000ft straight out of the ocean, Icy blue lakes, waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, glacial valleys. literally
everywhere you point your camera, it’s a jaw-droppingly incredible postcard
It is about 40 miles (64 km) east of Ketchikan, Alaska, along the Inside Passage coast in extreme southeastern
Alaska, comprising 2,294,343 acres (928,488 ha) of Tongass National Forest in Alaska's Panhandle.
Map: Click here to see MapQuest Map showing locations of Misty Fjord National Monument and Ketchikan
A view of our Alaska cruise ship, Sapphire Princess, docked at Ketchikan Harbor. We boarded Sapphire
Princess in Vancouver Harbor in Canada on the afternoon of August 8, 2009. Sapphire Princess started
cruising out of Vancouver at about 5 PM of August 8. Ketchikan is the first stop in this one-week Alaska
cruise. Sapphire Princess arrived at Ketchikan on August 10 at about 6:30 AM. It docked at Ketchikan Harbor
for about 7 hours so that tourists can get off Sapphire Princess to go on one of several excursion tours
available at Ketchikan. I picked the four-and-half hour boat tour of Misty Fjords National Monument. (The
official tour title is Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer with Tour ID of KTN-030 on Princess website.)
An inside view of the lower level of the boat for the boat tour of Misty Fjords National Monument. There is a
second level. The total seating capacity is about 150 tourists. The tour is narrated by a tour guide who
provided a lot of helpful information and answered many questions from the tourists.
Spectacular scenery of sheer rock cliffs rise 3,150 feet straight up vertically from the sea level and drop 1,000
feet below the sea level in such breathtaking fjord.
The horizontal grooves on such sheer rock cliff wall indicate that such fjords were sculpted by massive glaciers
(during last ice age) that gouged and quarried deep U-shaped troughs with steep stone walls throughout the
monument. Many of the glacial U-shaped valleys were then filled with sea water to become the spectacular
fjords. The walls of these U-shaped fjords are near-vertical and often rise 2,000 to 3,000 feet above sea level,
and also drop 1,000 feet below the sea level.
Zoom in for a closer view of some of the seals.
In addition to gulls, there were also many other kinds of seabirds flying very fast just above the water surface.
Many seabirds use their "short" wings not only for flying in the air but also for pedalling and swimming under the
water to catch fish such that their wings are "short and small" relative to those of eagles or hawks or vultures.
Therefore, these seabirds have to flap their small and short wings very fast to be able to fly in the air. So the
picture of such flying seabirds look like a bullet with no wing (i.e., blurred fast flapping small wings.) This is very
different from eagle or hawk which can soar and cruise leisurely high in the sky for a long time without flapping
their long and broad wings.
Wow! A float plane emerged from the mist, probably with tourists, show up while we were touring Misty
Fjords National Monument. The pilot must be very skillful with a lot of experience in this area to fly in such
heavily misty steep-walled narrow fjords on a raining day.
Magnificent spectacle! Due to abundance of rain, mist and moisture in this region, there are countless beautiful
waterfalls cascading down the thousand-foot tall rock walls of the beautiful fjord.
A fishing boat along our way going back to Ketchikan Harbor. The economy of Ketchikan is based on salmon
fishing, logging and tourism. Nearly half of all king salmon spawning and rearing streams in southeast Alaska
are located within Misty Fjords. Misty Fjord National Monument is a huge area covering 2.3 million acres and is
a major producer of coho, sockeye, pink and chum salmon and king salmon.
A view of the tour cruise boat for the stunning tour of the spectacular Misty Fjords National Monument. It is a
double-hull high-speed catamaran.
青山嫵媚 ， 峭壁如削，雲氣繚繞 ， 若隱若現，浮雲飄渺，意境非凡
， 與君共賞 !
John Muir compared this area with the fantastic Yosemite Valley in California for its similar geology and glacial
morphology. During ice ages, light-colored granite, about 50 to 70 million years old (Eocene Epoch to
Cretaceous Period) was carved by the action of glaciers in the ice ages that gouged deep U-shaped troughs
throughout the monument, and was flooded by the sea when the later glaciers retreated to become the
The wet and wild Misty Fjord National Monument receives 160 inches of rain annually on average. The national
monument takes its name from the almost constant precipitation characteristic of the area. No wonder that it
was raining and misty when we were touring this beautiful and majestic fjord on August 10, 2009.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of Punchbowl Cove in Misty Fjords National Monument
Some of these photos were taken inside the large tour cruise boat through the window with rain drops and rain
streaks on the window. It was a raining day when we were touring Misty Fjord National Monument on a
narrated large tour cruise boat with a capacity for about 150 tourists.
Misty Fjords National Monument is known as "The Yosemite of the North" due to the similarity in their geology
and awesome scenery. Remote and wild, it is located in the southernmost part of southeast Alaska near
A bald eagle nest high near the top
of a very tall tree.
Zoom in for a closer view of the large nest and the eagle by using my compact super-zoom camera (Canon
PowerShot SX10 IS).
Many tourists put on their rain coats to go outside on the deck on the second level of the tour cruise boat to
enjoy the awesome views of steep cliffs, and dazzling waterfalls.
New Eddystone Rock is located in the Behm Canal near the entrance of Rudyerd Bay in Misty Fjords
National Monument. It is a picturesque 237-foot tall column of volcanic basalt core which was part of a
volcanic vent where magma rose repeatedly to the surface of the earth eons ago.
George Vancouver, the famous British Captain, discovered this rock and gave it the name of New Eddystone
Rock. He named many places and special features of Misty Fjords. Eddystone Reef off the coast of England
was a source of inspiration for many of the names Vancouver and others gave to coastal areas in Alaska.
This is the reason for the word "New" in the name of this rock.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of New Eddystone Rock
Notice that some black dots on the beach at the bottom on this pictures are harbor seals.
There were many groups of gulls here and there while our tour cruise boat was cruising from Ketchikan harbor
towards Misty Fjord National Monument.
We also saw groups of seabirds, Pigeon Guillemot, with bright pink/red legs and feet on narrow horizontal or
sloping ledges on sheer cliffs. Similar to many other kinds of seabirds, guillemot comes to land only in the
summer season to nest and breed, spending the rest of its life at sea. They dive for food from the surface,
There are also some petroglyph (rock calving) on these rock walls by some ancient native people .
The catamaran tour boat running at high speed when it was out of the fjords and was going back to Ketchikan
A wet juvenile bald eagle on a small island in the middle of a bay on our way back to Ketchikan. We also saw
another mature bald eagle with white feather on the head and on the tail on another similar small island, but I
did not focus well on that picture of the matured bald eagle.
Within a few minutes of walking distance from Ketchikan Harbor is Ketchikan Creek where there are many
salmon swimming up the creek to their spawning ground. There are also many boutique stores and souvenir
stores along Creek Street on both sides of this creek. At the mouth of Ketchikan Creek flowing into the
Ketchikan Harbor there is the Stedman Street Bridge where tourists can see many jumping wild salmon as
shown in the next picture. The Stedman Street Bridge is again within only a few minute of walking distance from
where Sapphire Princess is docked.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing detailed street map of downtown Ketchikan
Many salmon were jumping in this area. Due to heavy rain, the water rushing down from Ketchikan Creek into
this area was not crystal clear. Many red patches in the water probably were red (sockeye) salmon. Other
kinds of salmon were less visible in such water. There were also harbor seals chasing these salmon under the
water and driving them rushing to the water surface from time to time. We heard that the reason that many
salmon were jumping here and at many other places is to loosen up the egg sag inside their bodies to get
ready for spawning.
After we finished the sightseeing activities at Ketchikan and was walking back to our cruise ship at Ketchikan
Harbor, we saw this truck unloading Alaska Fresh Seafood into our cruise ship, Sapphire Princess. Yummy
Yummy for our one-week Alaska Cruise.
Part 10 of 11 is about the driving land tour on the Kenai Peninsula from Seward to Homer with many points of
interest. It is at:
This boat tour of Misty Fjords National Monument reminds me of our previous boat tour of the majestic fjord in
the beautiful Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland in eastern Canada in July
2005 as shown on my Travelogue web page at:
The spectacular scenery of Yosemite National Park in California, USA, in Misty Fjords National Monument in
Alaska, USA and in Gros Morne National Park in eastern Canada are similar. Their geological formation
process for fjords by massive glaciers is also very similar.
The sequence of our 2-week Tour of Alaska is the Following:
One-week Alaska Cruise:
Vancouver in Canada, the starting point of 1-week Alaska Cruise --------> Ketchikan in Alaska (Misty Fjords
National Monument) --------> Juneau (Mendenhall Glacier, Macaulay Salmon Hatchery, Gold Creek Salmon
Bake) ---------> Skagway (8-hour Excursion Land Tour into Yukon Territory in northwest Canada) -------->
Glacier Bay National Park --------> College Fjords --------> Whittier, the end point of our Alaska Cruise.
One-week driving tour of Alaska starts from Whittier as follows:
Whittier --------> Denali National Park --------> Fairbanks (Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge,
Georgeson Botanical Garden, Large Animal Research Station of the University of Alaska) ---------> Town of
North Pole --------> Scenic Richardson Highway going south --------> Boundary of Wrangell-St Elias National
Park ---------> Scenic Glen Highway going west ---------> Scenic Seward Highway going south -------->
Seward, (Kenai Fjords National Park, Exit Glacier) --------> Seward Highway going north to Tern Lake, then
Sterling Highway going west to Kenai, then south ---------> Homer --------> Sterling Highway going north to
Kenai, then east, to Tern Lake, then Seward Highway going north ---------> Alaska Wildlife Conservation
Center --------> Anchorage, the end point of our driving tour of Alaska
Sparkling lovely waterfalls cascading down the jagged cliff.
Ther incredible beauty of this dramatic fjord.
幽靈似的漫漫飛霧沒有淹沒山林， 峰體造型奇特, 彷若刀劈
Spectacular landscapes unfold before us as we cruise into the heart of Alaska's misty fjord, gaze in awe at
the sheer cliffs. The stunning Misty Fjord is one of the highlights of Alaska Cruise.
Stunning beauty, incredible scenic wonders.
Many ribbons of waterfalls plummet from misty towering cliff to fjord, breathtaking views whatever way you
turn your head.
迷 濛之美， 如詩如晝。
Jaw-dropping view of the misty fjord, one of most dramatic scenery in the Alaska Cruise.
Picturesque view of the misty fjord.
Sheer beauty of the misty fjord.
Breathtaking fjord is lined by sheer cliffs!