May 25, 2009

Ketchikan: The last port

Fading quietly into that good night.

Yesterday: Visited Ft. Rosecrans and checked on G’s mom and dad as well as Dale Craig. Dale's grave doesn’t have any grass any more…the tree near it is winning. Went out to check my father in CV, and not only didn’t he have a flag, his vase had been stolen. I complained and they fixed it right away. I wonder where they got the vase.

Today: I’m doing the last Alaska entry. G’s still in his robe doing his war game. I want to go back to see if my father’s grave marker is really fixed. Please prayers for my daughter’s friend and sponsor who has inoperable lung cancer.

Reading: Five in the Dresden series. I need a break from these.

Balance: Getting done with the Alaska photographs.

On a chill low fog morning, we coasted up the Inside Passage to Ketchikan on Revillagigedo Island in Southeast Alaska. Once the capitol of the Alaskan Salmon fishing industry, the town is now forced to diversify with the closure of the pulp mill in 97 and the collapse of the fishing industry.

It rains in Ketchikan. There are 162 inch’s of rain in Ketchikan plus 32 inches of snow. Every day we spent in Alaska this trip was sunny, but in Ketchikan it rained. Of course.

We had a few moments on the docks before we boarded our bus to the Tlingit village of Saxman visiting with friends, taking a walk. In one of those trolley busses, we were blessed by having a local driver who explained the churches, schools, ball fields, and rivalries. Thanks to him we knew the name of shops owned by locals, and where the museum was.

Our guide Moses talking with Nathan in the carving shed.

After a tour of the town, and it is an up the hill and down town, he drove us up the coast to the Tlingit villiage of Saxman. The village of Saxman was founded in 1894 by the peoples of Tongass and Cape Fox and was the site of a BIA Presbyterian mission school.

The Saxman Historic site says, During the 1930s, many totem poles and ceremonial artifacts, such as carvings and masks, were retrieved by the Civilian Conservation Corps from the abandoned villages at Cape Fox, Tongass, Cat Island and Pennock Island. Totem poles were restored and relocated to Saxman as part of a U.S. Forest Service program.

Today the old totems that are rotting in the wet environment are being duplicated in the new Edwin C. De Witt totem carving center. The day we visited, we could see our onboard guide Moses chatting with his friend Nathan Jackson The tired wolf near the front steps has come to life again in Mr. Jackson’s studio. Out in back, under the lush green of the trees can be found lines of totems fading back into the earth.

We took a few moments to walk across the street into the Saxman shop before we left for downtown Ketchikan, and I had a short while to chat with a tribal council member. We had a delightful lunch at the New York Hotel, pin shopping at a local store, and a Friday T-shirt for G.

We had a quiet moment on the top decks, before getting cleaned up for dinner and the calm trip back to Vancouver. The following day we were off to the airport at seven and got home, two flights later at seven. Yes, I would do this again in a minute.

1 comment:

  1. Mage, thank you so much for posting so diligently. All your posts were a delight to read. Glad you got back home safely.


What a delight to get a note from you. Thanks for leaving one.


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