Today’s walk was not energetic, it was contemplative. I walked through Sitka’s Orthodox Cemetery. A couple of months ago someone suggested that I walk through the Cemetery and post some pictures. I didn’t get around to it until I met Bob Sam on my walk yesterday. During that walk through Sitka National Park I took a break, sitting on a bench. Soon Bob Sam sat … Continue reading Honoring Ancestors, Sitka’s Orthodox Cemetery
Sitka Celebrated Elizabeth Peratrovich Day with a parade and celebration at the ANB Founders’ Hall. Here are some pictures from the parade. To read the history of the holiday, scroll below the pics. February 16 is Elizabeth Peratrovich Day in Alaksa. With today’s political climate of demonizing the other, repeating this story is more important than ever. In 1945, during the debate in the Alaska Territorial … Continue reading Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, 2017
Last night I popped my Jeep into 4 wheel drive for the first time in 33 months. I had begun to wonder if Sitka would ever see winter again. When you live in a rain forest the snow is a relief, precipitation in a different form. precipitation that you don’t mind walking in, precipitation that brightens up the town, even cloudy days. Today is transitional, … Continue reading It’s beginning to look a lot like…ALASKA!
We arrived in Skagway in time for its evacuation. Skagway has a year around population on 850 but in the summer the population is on the north side of 2000. Sometimes 10,000 visitors, tourists and crew, come off of up to 5 ships. We arrived the second Sunday of September. The day we arrived we were the last of 3 ferries who were taking people … Continue reading Skagway
The White Pass and Yukon Route (WP & YR) is billed as the Scenic Railway of the World. It’s a narrow gauge (3’) railroad that was built to carry gold stampeders from tidewater at Skagway to, first the White Pass Summit (Late 1898) then to Lake Bennet BC, the head of navigation for the Yukon River (1899) and finally, 110 miles to Whitehorse (1900), beyond … Continue reading White Pass & Yukon Route, STEAM !!!
The White Pass is billed as Scenic Railway of the World. I can imagine with the play of clouds as we climb the almost 3000 feet to the summit of White Pass each trip is different. With steam power the whole trip is filtered through the fine mist created by the locomotive, we were in the car directly behind old 73, giving the whole landscape … Continue reading WP & YR Scenic Railway of the World.
If you really want to understand Southeast Alaska you should travel on the ferry. The trip to from Sitka to Juneau is a 20 minute flight, by ferry it takes 9 hours. It gives you a sense of the country. Each trip is different depending on weather, season and tide. The gateway to Sitka is Sturgis Narrows. Tidal currents require you to navigate the narrows … Continue reading Elderly Ferries
Lynn Canal is the deepest fjord in North America. It runs 90 miles from Juneau to Skagway and is from 3 to 12 miles wide. George Vancouver named it after his birthplace, King’s Lynn in England. It’s an extension of Chatham Strait, formed by a fault line running from the Gulf of Alaska to Skagway. Lynn Canal is the northern end of the Inside Passage … Continue reading Lynn Canal
Chatham Strait, or Shee ya xhaak in the Tlingit language runs 150 miles from the southern tip of Baranof Island to Lynn Canal where it joins Icy Strait. Admiralty Island is on the East, Baranof and Chichagof Islands to the west. It is part of the same fault system that created Lynn Canal. George Vancouver named it after the first Earl of Chatham, William Pitt. … Continue reading The Run Home, Chatham Strait to Peril Strait.
Spain may have its “Running of the Bulls” but in Sitka we have the “Running of the Boots.” I think this is safer. This year we celebrated the 22nd annual “running.” It started as celebration of the end of the tourist season but is now a fundraiser for Sitka Local Foods Network (Farmers’ Market.) The “Running” got a break today. It was held in … Continue reading Running of the Boots 2016
Last Night Suzi, Dave and I went out to look at the Aurora. At midnight we called it a night. I had just gotten home and before going to bed my Aurora Watch app told me that there would be a magnetic storm reaching earth in the next 57 minutes. I grabbed my camera, tripod, lawn chair and a slightly warmer jacket than my windbreaker … Continue reading Magnetic Storm!
One of my autumn rituals is to go up Harbor Mountain to see how the fall is progressing at higher altitudes. It seems like fall is a little late on the mountain top this year. But the berries are fine. Continue reading Fall is late this year on Harbor Mountain.
Living in Alaska, with my window by the sea, I mark the turning of the seasons. I never let a solstice or equinox pass without some observation, a bonfire or some other ritual. But seasons turn on their own times, not always in line with equinox or solstice. Spring came to Sitka in February this year with an early greening and no late frost. And … Continue reading Summer to Fall.
From mid-February until early May I have been watching master carver Tommy Joseph create a house pole that will be part of the museum at the Department of Interior’s headquarters in Washington. The pole took shape at Tommy’s skilled hands in the shop at the Sitka National Historical Park. I stopped by the shop on my way to or from my daily walk and I … Continue reading A House Post for Washington.
An essay on returning to Sitka: When I first moved to Sitka relatives and friends, especially relatives, would ask “when are you coming back to civilization.” Back more than 35 years ago you could forgive them for asking that question. Often they could not get calls through to us, the circuits were all busy, especially like days like today, Father’s Day. When they did get … Continue reading …coming back to civilization.
Since January I have been watching Steve Brown build a Tlingit ocean going dugout canoe out of a single red cedar log at Sitka National Historical Park. Steve has been working with “apprentices” Tommy Joseph, T.J. Young, Jerrod Galanin and Nick Galanin. What an amazing group of “apprentices,” each a master in his own right. I have been documenting it almost daily on Facebook and … Continue reading Log Rolling in Pursuit of an Oceangoing Canoe
Sunday, April 11, Sitka and the Southeast Alaska Women in Fisheries held their blessing of the fleet at the Crescent Harbor shelter. It’s one of those community gatherings that, in a way, define our seafaring town. First some sea songs, then prayers and hymns for the safety of those at sea and for the sea itself. Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things … Continue reading Blessing of the Fleet, 2016
I saw my chance and took it. During a day of windy snow squalls I saw a break of sun and blue skies. By the time I got on my sweater, boots, gloves and ear band and got to the Science Center parking the sucker hole has closed and I took my walk in a snow squall with bits of sun poking through. The Sitka … Continue reading Winter Arrives Before Fall Finishes its Work
Alaska Day 2015, rain may make the pictures look dull but it does nothing to slow the celebration. It’s October, some people theorize that the Russians chose to pull out because it was October. Continue reading Alaska Day, 2015
“Tomorrow we are spawning salmon, do you want to come and take pictures.” I had never heard salmon be the object of the verb to spawn but I understood what August meant. So at 9 in the morning I was at the Sitka Sound Science Center, with my camera, to see how people spawned salmon. I do not know the technical terms but I divided … Continue reading Spawning Day
Today I paused during my walk to watch Holland America’s Westerdam weigh anchor and sail past the mouth of Indian River on its way to Seattle and asked “Will this be the ship that carries me away?” It’s a question my grandfather asked as a boy in Ireland. An uncle named Morrison had sailed away to America to make his fortune. When he came back … Continue reading Will this be the Ship…?
On Saturday’s Allen Marine Tours Cruise we not only saw whales (Click here to see whales.) The reason for the trip was to go to St. Lazaria Island, a national wildlife refuge. It is a beautiful volcanic island sculpted by waves and wind. While we saw plenty of birds most of the species have fledged their chicks and have gone back out to sea. But … Continue reading St Lazaria and Other Delights.
It was a small town festival and I was beginning to wonder if my recommendation to a friend that Sitka was a great place to live was going to blow up in my face. I mean, I’ve lived here for 35 years. I get bobbing for fish heads followed by a fish head toss. But I was afraid that my friend who just moved here … Continue reading Small Town Festival
My favorite Fourth of July event in Sitka is the water fight between the Stika Fire Department and Coast Guard. A pony keg is set in the middle of the street and the teams use hoses to move the keg beyond the goal. They also do a lot of spraying the crowds. This year they added foam. Everyone gets wet. For first timers it can … Continue reading July 4th Water Fight!