10/22/2013 09:56 am ET Updated Dec 22, 2013

The Animals of Alaska, Sixth and Last of a Few Journal Entries; Day 11

DAY 11: The last evening of this journey, following a few more equally wonderful days. Whale watching in the waters off Juneau, in terms of both sheer numbers and behaviors observed, is the finest of several excellent whale watching trips we've enjoyed for years, with Humpbacks displaying in a way to make you think they wanted an audience of fragile, excited, camera-wielding bipeds. Salmon so dense, dying in the creeks so thick, one could imagine walking across right on them. And a baby porcupine sleeping soundly by a stream, spotted while hiking the National Forest at the most blue of beautiful blues Mendenhall Glacier.

John Muir, of course, said many remarkable things about Alaska. Perhaps my favorite, "But out of all the cold darkness and glacial crushing and grinding comes this warm, abounding beauty and life to teach us that what we in our faithless ignorance and fear call destruction is creation finer and finer."

Carolyn and I sit in a bar on the ship, sipping wine, thinking about what we've seen, thinking about home (thinking about seeing our dogs and cats), and as the setting sun turns the sky and water red and orange dozens of Dall's porpoises come flying by the starboard side, below us, so obviously enjoying themselves. Heading home...