From the Field: Waterfall

By Jeremy Saenz, Expedition Leader Safari Quest

I came out on deck today to look at one of the many gorgeous waterfalls that inhabit Endicott Arm in Tracy Arm/Ford’s Terror Wilderness. Many guests where there to greet me as I had just announced that we were going to take a closer look at this one. One guest remarked that this would have been the most beautiful waterfall that he had ever seen….if it weren’t for the one that we saw earlier in the day while kayaking.

We talked about the incredible amount of water that was coming off the high peaks and cascading to the ocean before us and the incredible number of waterfalls that we had seen in just the last 12 hours. He commented in amazement that there were at least 10 waterfalls in our immediate view that would warrant parking lots, signage, and trails if they were in the lower 48 states and that each one would merit a “day- trip” to visit, at the very least. He wasn’t wrong. I have gotten used to abundant waterfalls over the last few years of working in Southeast Alaska, but this year is exceptional. Southeast Alaska received quite a lot of snow this winter and the warmer temperatures of spring made perennial waterfalls more sizeable and ephemeral waterfalls more abundant. As we got closer and water began to mist on us, the entire crowd on the bow quieted as we all fell under the spell of this powerful torrent. It is amazing how something so violent can be so soothing at the same time. Throughout the week, we made several stops in many places and this guest words’ stuck with me because each place that we went, we found waterfalls big and small. Each one deserved a stop on a kayak or a small boat and each one was greeted with excitement and reverence.

One of the great things about my job is that I get to feed off the energy and sentiment of each group of guests. This week, I saw things through the eyes of waterfall lovers and realized that I was one also.