Admiralty Island 2010

Often we travel to far away destinations and overlook what spectacular beauty we have in our own backyard, so I decided to explore some places close to home and see what I’ve been missing. From the Juneau road system you can see the towering peaks and a good part of the northern coast of Admiralty Island National Monument and I thought why not paddle over in my kayak and have a look. It was nice not to buy tickets for a ferry or a plane, just pack up and go.
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Catching the outgoing tide from Sandy Beach and passing by this tower left over from the Treadwell gold mine my first destination was Point Arden on the northeast corner of Admiralty Island where Stephens Passage and Taku Inlet meet.

Point Arden was craggy and rocky from pounding seas but just a few miles down the coast was a nice beach to make camp. In the morning I found this strange purplish shelf mushroom, still haven’t figured out what it is.

At first the weather was foggy and threatening but by the evening of the second day the clouds started to break up.

Following the coast west, the tide allowed entrance to narrow Oliver’s Inlet that goes south for about two miles to a little tram and portage trail. On the other side of the portage is the Seymour Canal public use cabin, it was nice to get out of the kayak for a while and take a walk but the trip over to Seymour Canal will have to wait for another year. As the tide receded I continued west exploring streams, campsites and beaches along the way. The streams were full of salmon and the campsite at Young Point had an exceptionally grand view of the back side of Douglas Island and Stephens Passage.
From the camp at Young Point it is an easy paddle around to Admiralty Cove a river estuary that is great fun to explore at high tide. Admiralty Cove Cabin has a 4 ½ mile trail that leads to Young Lake and has good fishing.

The skyline in this area is dominated by Eagle Peak the tallest mountain on Admiralty Island at 4650 feet. There is no trail to the top of this one and I bet it would be a tuff climb.

Continuing on along Young bay it was hot and sunny, glad I remembered to bring sun screen.

Just past Horse and Colt Islands was this view of Juneau, Auke Bay and the Coastal Mountain Range. Nice evening to be on the water!

Of course Admiralty Island is known for its brown bears like this one having a mid morning snack in (where else) Bear Creek.

 After paddling north past Robert Barron Peak, Lone Mountain and the Barlow Islands the end of my journey or at least the turnaround point came into view the light house at Point Retreat.
The far northern end of Admiralty Island looking south, you can just see Eagle Peak in the distance.

The TlingĂ­t call this island "Kootznoowoo," meaning "Fortress of the Bear." Indeed, Admiralty Island is home to the highest concentration of brown bears in the world and if ever so briefly it was a pleasure to share their home.