Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Monday, March 27, 2017


Here are more pics from my day of touring the totem poles near Ketchikan. The afternoon was spent visiting the area known as Saxman.
Here we met master carver Nathan Jackson.
 He showed us the pole he was currently working on that would honor William Seward.
 He explained about different styles and methods used to carve poles.
 He was a wealth of information and very entertaining.
 This man has dozens of totem poles displayed all over the world! Fascinating.
After we visited Mr. Jackson in the carving shed, you were able to get outside and just wander around in Saxman Totem Park.
This park is the home to the largest number of standing totem poles.
The clan house was gorgeous.
There were many poles lining the streets and walkways.
 What a view! Got the mountains, the water, and impressive totem poles.
 I bet this one has a good story. It made me laugh to see the one figure's hand being held in the character's mouth on the totem pole. Might need to research this one.

 They were all so beautiful. It was interesting to try to pick out the different animals depicted on them.

 This short carving was pointing at you. Lots of detail on the hat.
 It appeared to be Abraham Lincoln on the top of one of the poles here.
 This was a wonderful way to spend a day. You could wander for hours looking at the totem poles just in Saxman and Totem Bight Parks. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Totem Bight State Park

Here are a few more pictures of the incredible totem poles found in Totem Bight State Park.
Myths and legends from both the Tlingit and Haida tribes can be found on these poles.
Our ranger said that characters on the Haida poles usually interconnect and overlap.
 The Tlingit poles have characters that are farther apart and appear more rounded.
 I could have studied them all day and never been able to discern the difference.

 All I know is that they were awesome! 
The colors on these were quite interesting. 
Totems of long ago were painted with natural pigments found in salmon eggs, clam shells, lichen, and minerals found nearby. 

Looks like some of them have paint on them.
No, that is not a carved eagle atop this totem. It seems that spot offered the eagle a perfect place to search for food in the nearby waters.

 There are 14 totem poles to view here.
 Many of these poles had been repaired or recreated around 1938 when the U.S. Forest Service used Civilian Conservation Corps funds to hire Native carvers to bring these works back to their glory.
 Thankfully, they salvaged them and created this wonderful park that we can all appreciate. 
This place was already getting green and lush.
 It will be a shock to return to all that snow still on the ground at home!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Arrival in Ketchikan

I arrived in Ketchikan Wednesday night after taking the milk-run plane ride. You take off from Anchorage, stop in Juneau, stop in Wrangell, stop in Petersburg, and finally make it to Ketchikan! These planes really do deliver groceries and supplies to these small towns, hence the nickname of the milk-run. Got up early Thursday morning to explore the island of Revillagigedo on which Ketchikan is located. In fact,the airport is located on another small island and you have to get on a ferry to make it across the passage to the town. Ketchikan is one of the first stops most people experience when traveling up the Inside Passage from the lower 48.
This historic town is home to the largest collection of totem poles in the world.
Today's pictures were taken at the Totem Bight State Historical Park
Ketchikan is also in the middle of the most northern temperate rainforest in the world, the Tongass.
I was so excited to see grass instead of snow covering the ground!
It rains an average of 152 inches each year. They also get about 37 inches of snow each year. With rain falling about 228 days of the year, most totem poles don't stand longer than 75 years.
A lot of craftsmanship and work goes into making one of these poles.
Tradition dictates that fallen totems are not to be lifted but allowed to decay.

 As I walked in the park I tried to identify the common characters found on many poles such as an eagle, frogs, the mystical thunderbird, raven, bears, orca, beavers, and a watchman.

 Here is the clan house.
 After making it through the small wooden opening,
you are greeted inside by more beautifully carved totems.
The clan house was very important to the tribe. It must have been a safe place also. You have to kind of duck and lean over when coming through the opening head first. If you were an intruder, they could smack you on the head as you entered!

This is such a beautiful area!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Guess What? It's Still Snowing!

It's been snowing off and on since Thursday night. So much for the "less than one inch of snow" that was in the forecast. We have received at least 8 inches, if not more, of new snow. These pictures are actually from earlier in the week.
 So I guess you will just have to use your imagination and visualize even more snow on top of this! Seriously, add about 10 more inches to these mounds of snow.
Greg dug a path for the mail carrier. We like to make sure all those heating bills can get to us.
 Our little greenhouse roof is laden with beautiful layers.
 We try to clear the sidewalk in front of our home.
 Snow doesn't slow you down much here.
 You just keep on taking your walks, going to work, and heading to school.
One afternoon, several raucous ravens perched in a tree across the street.
 They stayed at this end of the road because the two eagles hang out at the other end of the road. These loud ravens definitely got Purry Mason's attention.
 I'm headed to Ketchikan for the rest of the week. I will be attending my first Alaska Library Conference! Hope to have some nice pics to share next week.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Snowy January Continued!

We began this year with a cold and second snowiest January on record! You can see how much more snow has crept up the fence from since our last post. Most of my writing is now covered up.
Just look at the snow piled up on our roof!
One Saturday morning I had a surprise guest in the front yard. 
This cow moose tromped through the snow right up to the window.
 At least this visit from a moose was better than our last one.
 This time she ate on the neighbor's tree branches instead of ours!
 I attempted to get some night shots of some snowfall. It is hard to really capture what a winter wonderland it has been. I love it!
 We ended the month with around three feet of snow. .
 The snow gets heavy on the branches of the old trees along the streets.
 One weekend, we had about 16 inches of fresh snow and it has been an awful task for Greg to keep it shoveled.
We have a few more months of winter here. I'm sure it will only get better!