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Southeast Alaska

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Southeast Alaska is archetypal Alaska: an awesome four-hundred-mile-long tableau of fjords, mountains, glaciers, a thousand islands and thick conifer forests lining the Inside Passage. The area’s first settlers were the Tlingit (thling-get), and it was not until the end of the eighteenth century that Russian expansionists burst into the region. Today, southeast Alaska’s small communities resound with tales of endurance, folly and cruelty.

The state’s southernmost town, Ketchikan, rich in Native heritage, makes a pretty introduction, while Sitka retains a Russian influence. Further north are swanky Juneau, the capital; Haines, with its mix of old-timers and arty newcomers; and Skagway, thoroughly redolent of the old gold-rush days. You could spend months exploring here, but most are content to focus on the towns of Sitka and Skagway, and Glacier Bay National Park, an expensive side-trip from Juneau that penetrates one of Alaska’s most stunning regions.

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