The Misty Fjords of southeast Alaska.

For reasons I can’t explain, or even understand, my recent visit to southeastern Alaska’s Misty Fjords triggered a deep emotional response within me. My wife Barbara urged me to write about it before my feelings became lost in my own mists of memory. So I did.

I wish I were a better writer. I wish I were able to convey the beauty of the vista I awakened to this morning. I wish I were able to explain the emotions it elicited. But words come up far short. They fail. So the images and thoughts I experienced shall remain forever trapped within me.

But I will ignore that and try regardless.

We, my wife and I, are on a small cruise ship in the Misty Fjords. I open the curtains of our cabin shortly after sunrise and before me, perhaps a hundred yards away, stands the green forested wall of a steep hillside. Spruce, hemlock, cedar. Like moving spider webs, clouds of gray mist slide silently over the trees. Caps of fuzzy felt crown the tops of the mountains to which they cling. Farther above, more clouds—the advance guard of a Pacific rain system—and sunshine battle for dominance.

A sparkling silver chain, a series of icy waterfalls, dangles from a mountain looming over us from its cloud-shrouded peak to the dark, still water of the fjord below. Water on which our ship idles.

I wonder if the indigenous people who first lived here understood the magnificence of the land in which they dwelled. I wonder if the first white explorers felt the same emotions I did when they sailed up these narrow channels I can’t explain why I choked up when I absorbed the splendor that embraced me this morning, but I did.

And I thought nothing would top my experience of being surrounded—but safely so—by black bears yesterday as they went about their business of fattening up for the coming winter by snatching salmon from the rapids of Anan Creek. But for some reason, somehow, the Misty Fjords burrowed inside of me and planted an even more permanently etched memory.

Seeing the bears excited me. Seeing the Misty Fjords moved me. As I said, I wish I were a better writer. But perhaps I have given you a hint of what I experienced.


  1. Daci L. Armstrong on August 16, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    Sometimes there just are no words and we writers or would be writers must learn to be content with that. For me, a would -be, right now there are no words to convey my feelings following the total disaster on Maui. All I can say at most is it is all just gone: people, buildings, history: it is all GONE.

    • Buzz Bernard on August 17, 2023 at 10:38 am

      A true tragedy, Daci. I am so sorry.

  2. Edd Lawhon on August 16, 2023 at 2:32 pm

    Well Buzz, what you have written here sounds like an opening page for your book, Inside Passage, portraying your excursion up the inside passage . 👏👍👏

    • Buzz Bernard on August 17, 2023 at 10:39 am

      Nah. Think I’ll stick with WWII. Got my mojo goin’ there.

  3. Vida Zuljevic on August 22, 2023 at 9:48 am

    Oh Buzz, these images you ” painted” with words are just marvelous. “Like moving spider webs, clouds of gray mist slide silently over the trees,” I feel like I am standing in the middle of the misty morning there, or in front of a master painting but nooo that’s your superb writing that makes these images come alive in front of my eyes. Wonderful, dear friend.✍️📚🍀

    • Buzz Bernard on August 30, 2023 at 10:50 am

      Thank you, Vida. Makes me feel great to get accolades from a talented writer like yourself. I truly believe the emotions the scenery elicited from me that day somehow formed the words deep within me.

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