Behind the Lens: Hiking into Alaska’s Glacial Beauty
It is said that in Alaska travelers form a spiritual connection with Mother Nature. They see the wind rustle the branches of an endless sea of cedar trees; they hear the splash of water, as black bears paw at jumping salmon; and they feel the ground vibrate beneath them, as Alaska’s glaciers flow under the force of their own weight. The effect is therapeutic. Enriching. Inspiring.
“A destination rarely has such a profound impact on my soul,” says Lucia Griggi, Silversea’s Director of Onboard Photography, who has traveled to all seven continents with the cruise line. “An Alaskan cruise takes you on a journey in more senses than one, into the unknown. It’s a land of vivid colors, exceptional beauty, iconic wildlife, and vast landscapes of unimaginable grandeur. Whenever I step ashore, into America’s final frontier, I’m inspired by total calm. The experience imprints itself on my senses and I feel alive.”
Griggi recollects an unforgettable hike to Alaska’s Davidson Glacier when asked about her most memorable moment with Silversea. Collaborating with Expedition Filmmaker Richard Lynch, Griggi captured the experience on film, utilizing her experience to showcase her passion for the Alaskan wilderness.
The Power of Alaska: “I feel very fortunate to have been to Alaska more than 10 times, having traveled on cruises to the Inside Passage, the Aleutian Islands, and Kodiak Island, among other remote locations. I’ve seen its diverse beauty. As a place, it’s very special to me; each time I travel there, I feel at home. Perhaps it’s the freeing comfort that comes with being somewhere so incredibly remote and vast that makes me able to breathe and be the best person I can be? Inhaling Alaska’s fresh air gives me a deep respect for the land.”
On the Water, into the Wilderness: “Departing from Haines, our Zodiac cruised down the Chilkat Inlet, cutting through the still water as we journeyed towards our landing point. The wind was so still on that day—it was the most stunningly beautiful, warm Alaskan day. Towering mountains, veiled in thick forest with snow-capped peaks, flanked the wide waterway and an indescribable note scented the air—produced only by the purest of natural settings. It was a liberating feeling, as if wild Alaska was calling us away from our preoccupations and stresses.
Our Zodiac landed by a small rocky outcrop and our accompanying Expedition Team member helped us out into ankle-deep water, greeted by distant calls of some indeterminate eagle species. We waded ashore while admiring the tranquility of the natural setting around us. We felt like the only people for hundreds of miles, in the heart of Alaska’s wilderness. Changing into our hiking boots and lighter attire for the trek ahead, we proceeded with walking poles and awestruck expressions.”
A Hike to Cherish: “First a short walk across the sandy shore at the water’s edge and then into the lush green forest. As we hiked through this dense environment, it was dark, silent, and mysterious, save for the odd chirp of birds overhead. The Chilkat River is famous for having the largest population of American Bald Eagles in the United States, so I was hoping to capture footage of the bird of prey in flight. But this wasn’t the main subject I was intent on photographing that day. As the sunlight twinkled through the canopy above, casting a patterned shadow on the mossy floor, our curiosity pulled us deeper through the enchanting undergrowth, towards our breathtaking destination: the Davidson Glacier.”
Growing Colder with Each Step: “After a long hike through the beautiful forest, we knew we were approaching the glacier, as the temperature seemed to drop with each step. We finally came to an opening in which we confronted the majestic ice sculpture—as vast as a cityscape, cascading from the surrounding mountains into an icy lake below. The vast structure wound like a serpent through the Chilkat Range. Its texture and color stood out in vibrant contrast to the cold stone peaks and rich evergreen forest. I’d never seen anything so incredible. To find a glacier in the middle of a forest, after a memorable hike through Mother Nature, felt special indeed.”
“From up close, the Davidson Glacier has a grey, contoured surface that is tinted with a subtle blue. When I peered deep into its textured crevices, the colors intensified and I could see an amazing shade of piercing azure. It was spectacular. We sat a reasonable distance and admired the glacier’s beauty. It was such a serene moment. We ate our packed lunches and just enjoyed being in nature.”
The Force of Nature: “We reluctantly left the Davidson Glacier, hiking back to the shoreline, past the glacial lake decorated with braided rivers, taking a scenic detour back to the Zodiac. Our accompanying Expedition Expert led us to a towering waterfall, hidden deep in a valley. It flowed with such power that we were reminded of the strength of nature. Eagles soared high overhead and I remember smiling.
This landing took us on an adventure, through nature’s intricate details as well as its colossal monuments, leaving me feeling empowered, inspired, and at peace.”