Favorite photography destinations: The Tongass National Forest

March 13, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

“Rain is falling.  But this is not a passing thunderstorm, with its dramatic rolling and rumbling.  Water falls from the sky slowly, gently, and ceaselessly, as if it could go on for days, or years.  Rain soaks deep into the forest floor, making moss squish beneath hiking boots.  It drips, drips, drips off the tips of leaves, nodding the blossoms of wildflowers with the weight of each drop.  Waterfalls are singing.  The world, it seems, has turned to water.”


-Treasures of Alaska, National Geographic


The Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska stretches from Yakutat in the north to Portland Canal, just outside of Ketchikan encompassing 17 million acres making it the largest national forest in the United States, and the largest remaining temperate rainforest left on earth.


Gathering moisture in the Gulf of Alaska encounters warm, moist air from southern latitudes, and, moving onshore, the moisture rises and condenses resulting in a nearly ever-present rain that ranges from 29 inches per year in Skagway to over 160 inches in Ketchikan.


However, you wouldn’t believe that by looking at tourist brochures.  Instead, you’ll inevitably find crystal clear blue skies with puffy white clouds and sun-sparkled waters resembling a vacation paradise.


While those days do occur from time to time, this is a land made of rain.  It is this rain that feeds the salmon streams, forms glaciers and created one of the most mysterious and beautiful places in the world.





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