Introduction:Alaska: it's a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there - not in winter, anyway! Spectacular scenery like glaciers, mountains and waterfalls make an Alaskan vacation the trip of a lifetime and the wildlife is the icing on the cake.
There are some I would have liked to see but didn't - like wolves and polar bears - and there were others I DID see that couldn't make this too short list - like otters and humpback whales.
The largest land carnivore on earth rightfully commands a lot of respect and fear among Alaskans and was my #1 hoped-for wildlife sighting. And I did see two of the awesome bruins - albeit briefly and off in the distance. It's a rare treat to see their smaller cousins, black bears, in the Lower 48 but comparatively close-up sightings are common in Alaska during the salmon run season.
Actually the largest species of dolphin - we were privileged to see two telltale dorsal fins and sleek black and white bodies slicing through the water beside the cruise ship on the voyage home.
Look closely at those "snow covered" trees - because it actually might be a group of bald eagles! Our national symbol is rare to endangered in most of the lower 48, but still plentiful in Alaska.
Cruise into Glacier Bay and it's cold - even in late July! And here's where the stereotypical picture some of us have of Alaska becomes real - hundreds of seals dotting the surrounding ice floes.
I woke up at 5 a.m. one morning, and went for a walk on deck. In the mist shrouded waters was a herd of several dozen Pacific white sided dolphins, all leaping and cavorting around the boat.
select one here...