Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

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!

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