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Tracy Arm: a Jewel in the Golden Chain that is Southeast Alaska
Published: 06/13/2013 14:00:00
Tracy Arm is located about 45 miles south of Juneau, down Stephens Passage and off of Holkham Bay. It's named after Civil War General Benjamin Franklin Tracy, who was the Secretary of the Navy in the late 1800's, and it's the part of the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness, which was designated as such by Congress in 1980.

We took a trip up into Tracy Arm aboard the Adventure Bound, a 56 foot tour vessel whose experienced Captain is intimately familiar with the area. Over 30 miles long, Tracy Arm is a world class marvel of a Glacial Fjord, some of the surrounding mountains soar straight up to over 7,000 feet and the waterfalls that cascade down from these dizzying heights are truly breathtaking.

The waterway can be quite hazardous, often filled from shore to shore with floating icebergs calved from the twin Sawyer Glaciers, both of which are highly active tidewater glaciers; so while we floated quietly along at a safe distance, the ice was in constant motion around us.

Tracy Arm abounds with wildlife of all sorts commonly found in Southeast Alaska and we were fortunate enough to spot a few bears taking their leisure along the shoreline. Harbor Seals have their pups on these ice floes, safe from any prowling whales whose sonar is confused by the ice. And Arctic Terns use the icebergs as floating perches to take a rest from riding the winds.

With all of this astounding beauty, it isn't surprising that Kayakers treasure Tracy Arm as a refuge of quiet splendor and often count on the Adventure Bound to get them in and out of the area, saving them the long paddle back to town so that they can enjoy more time with the wilderness and the sea.

As residents of Southeast Alaska, we are blessed to be surrounded by all of the majesty of creation, and everywhere we look there lays beauty unsurpassed. But if you ever get the chance, take the time for a trip down to Tracy Arm; it's a jewel along the golden chain that is Southeast Alaska, and an awe inspiring place that you won't soon forget.

By: Rik Pruett -