We continued on past Icy Strait and through Dixon Channel into the Gulf of Alaska on a gray and drizzly morning, but some 80 miles offshore, the clouds in our distant wake parted to reveal a stunning snowcapped mountain range, with towering Mount Logan, a peak of nearly 20,000 feet, standing sentinel above all the rest.
The long week it took to traverse the gulf proved to be a challenging shakedown, with the lumpy southwesterly described at the outset of this tale the definite lowlight. But we were rewarded on our approach to the rugged Aleutians with a dawn greeting from another impressive set of towers, the 9,400-foot Shishaldin Volcano and its neighborly sidekick, the 8,025-foot Isanotski Peaks, both stationed on the remote island of Unimak. Fresh sunlight set their respective summits aglow while casting severe shadows on the crags and canyons beneath. Alaska: the natural, visual gift that never stops giving.