An early summer census on craggy Round Island is a jaw dropper. Up to 6,000 male walruses haul out on the rocky beaches here, the most significant gathering spot in North America. Add to this count several hundred sea lions, and a quarter million nesting seabirds, including colorful puffins. A handful of lucky backpackers soak in the ambiance, roaming cliff top trails that circle the mile-and-a-half long island, offering perfect vantage points for the show.
For permits: Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary, (907) 842-2334, www.state.ak.us/adfg/adfghome.htm