The Road to 65, Mile 201: Southeast IS Northwest, Day 10- More Totems, and More Floating

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June 17, 2015, Ketchikan- I was fortunate today, to have the hostel agree, European-style, to hold my bags until it was near time for my ride to the ferry terminal.  The ten-day Alaskan experience was coming to a close.  I have enjoyed a fairly good taste of “Southeast”, and this last day on land, in Ketchikan, was no exception.  I had breakfast in two different venues:  A street stall, across from the Cruise Ship docks, which had fairly good muffins and coffee.,and in Sweet Mermaids, where the steel cut oatmeal and fresh berries were accompanied by an hour of WiFi.

When I was first walking around the waterfront, this morning, a man called out- “You, from Arizona!  How do you like Southeast?”   Hmmm, do Arizonans stick out?  Of course, I told him I thought the region was exquisite and that I was having a great time.  Turns out, he is from Scottsdale, and knew the Methodist pastor, who is from Tucson.  Even in a busy tourist venue like Ketchikan, word gets around fast.

This is the street where the stall is located.

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I spent some time walking along and observing the fisherfolk.  This craft was in the channel, just off Saxman.

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Saxman, two miles south of downtown Ketchikan, is a Tlingit village, named fro a great local teacher, who died in the line of service to his community.

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There are several totem poles, both honourific and modern, which comprise a public park.  Tourists wishing to visit the ceremonial hall and carving studio, must pay $ 5 per person, cash only.  The outside, however, is free of charge.  I bought a hand-made rattle, from the Village Store, and will use it at a Drum Circle which some friends back in AZ have, every month.

As you can see, many of the totem poles are well-maintained by their clan moieties.

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Frogs are seen as protectors and sentinels of the water.

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The guardian totems here are properly greeting the visitors.

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Here is a view of the totem field.

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Abe Lincoln stands in exile, so situated because of his treatment of the Lakota Sioux, to which the Tlingit and Haida people take great umbrage.

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This is the exterior of the Ceremonial Hall, where drumming and singing take place.

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This is the taxi driver’s pride and joy.

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Street signs are in English and Tlingit.  The Tlingit language is offered in public schools, throughout southeast Alaska, and in coastal British Columbia.

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Well, after this visit and a lunch at Polar Treats, downtown, it was time for me to head to the ferry. My Ketchikan friend, Ms. Chapman, took me to the terminal, and I bid a fond farewell to my new friends and communities of this magical set of peninsulas and islands.

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The people who work the ship are also embedded in my heart.  After two days together, on the way up, several of the crew somehow remembered me, when I showed up again for meals and around the ship.

A couple of orcas were off the port side of the ship, as we left U.S. waters.

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Green Island Light is manned by a Canadian family, who stay for a period of three months, then are succeeded by another family.

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Cold and mist were the Alaskan farewell, as we headed into the waters off British Columbia.  I will be back some day.832

The Road to 65, Mile 195: Southeast IS Northwest, Day Four- Juneau

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June 11, 2015, Juneau- There is no such thing as a wasted day, unless one revels in wastefulness.  Rain fell, constantly, during my first full day in the Alaskan capital.  One must take what is, however, and so I first headed over to the nearest coffee house:  Heritage Coffee, in the heart of downtown.  I had about 1 1/2 hours of wi fi, for the price of coffee and a scone, before whoever runs the wifi pulled the plug, and I moved on.

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Thus, I took in the fullness of downtown Juneau, and gradually moved uphill.

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St. Nicholas Orthodox Church became a refuge for the Tlingit people, in the 1880’s and ’90’s, when American Christian groups insisted they give up their language and customs.  The Russian Orthodox missionaries made no such demand.  Therefore, the community remains strong in Juneau.

The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary has thrived, since the Catholics learned from the success of their Orthodox neighbours.  In truth, the only way to really reach people, especially in spiritual matters, is through their hearts.IMG_0972

The Alaska State Capitol is under renovation now, so no one is allowed inside, as a visitor.  It is one of the most utilitarian, and unadorned of the state capitols, which suits me, and most Alaskans, just fine.

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All this going back and forth was leading me to check my watch, and, yes, it was lunch time.  So, off to Rainbow Foods, the local natural foods market, I went.  Some of my fellow hostelers were stunned, STUNNED, that I didn’t go to Fred Meyer or IGA.  As capable as the chain stores may be, local has more of the ambiance I seek.

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After the lunchtime interlude, I checked out Wickersham House, the early Twentieth Century home of a local judge, and his multi-talented second wife, who built strong, respectful relationships with the Tlingit and Haida people. The house is an Alaskan State Historic Site, and much of the judge’s native arts collection is preserved here.  Note the basketry, figurines and scrimshawed whale bone, below.

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Next up, was a ninety-minute spiritual study with some local friends, then it was off to the heights above Juneau, with the hardiest of their number.

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Our goal was Ebner Falls, which can be seen from a distance, below.

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Above Ebner Falls, there rises Mount Juneau, accessible by a muddy path.

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The rain was our companion, all during this hike, but the falls are a greater attraction than the precipitation was a deterrent. I went with my friend, Dave P., to his boat, to prepare it for tomorrow’s expedition.  After pizza and salad, with Dave and his wife, my evening was occupied with  helping a young friend to heal herself, with the help of some essential oils.