Looping around Ketchikan

What a beautiful sunny day–AT LAST! Since rain was scheduled to arrive on Sunday, July 17, for an extended visit, Walt and I spent most of Saturday walking and traveling around Ketchikan in loops on the free downtown shuttle and $2-per-ride transit buses that take you from the north end of the city along the granite-and-forest-lined ocean shore with its various bays and harbors to the south end and everywhere in between. We walked about 10,000 steps over the course of the day, to the AT&T store to purchase a data plan for Alaska, to an excellent coffee shop with a community garden and small outdoor market nearby (Walt bought some wonderful locally-roasted coffee!) through the downtown area with all its jewelry, curio, and souvenir shops, to the Visitor Center near the waterfront, to the famous Creek St. area (once the “red-light” district “where men and salmon come to spawn”) through which an active salmon stream leaps and bounds, around a Tlingit Native village with its collection of
totem poles, and finally from an auto parts store (Walt needed engine oil and filters) back to the Bar Harbor North docks where Braesail is camped.

The highlight of the day was a visit to the Saxman Native Village Totem Park, the world’s largest collection of standing Native American poles. The village contains some poles that were left in abandoned villages as Alaskan First Nations peoples moved into more populated areas, and that were relocated to this place, and some poles that have been reconstructed by Tlingit carvers. The village also has a beautiful Clan House where dance performances are given, a Native carving shed where you can watch carvers at work, and an excellent gift shop.

Some of the totem poles in the Saxman Totem Park with the Clan House in the background. Each pole tells a story. The two bears are guardians of the steps leading into the park.
More poles line the street leading back toward the water. An eagle soars above a beaver at the bottom of the pole in the photo’s center.
The Seward “ridicule” pole: The original was a shame pole, erected in the 1880s to ridicule Secretary of State William H. Seward for failing to repay the gifts he had received from Chief Ebbits, a Tlingit clan leader and one of the highest-ranking men at Tongass Village. Seward stopped there on a trip to Alaska in 1869 and was welcomed by Chief Ebbits as if he were royalty, with appropriate gifts and ceremony. But after Seward “did not repay either the courtesy or the generosity of his hosts, the Seward shame pole [was erected] to remind the Tongass people of this fact.” The red ears and nostrils indicate stinginess!
The Lincoln commemorative pole marks the signing of a peace treaty between two rival Tlingit tribes. The figure of Lincoln represents the US cutter “Lincoln,” whose presence was essential to the concluding of the pact, and it tops the pole because an inanimate object, such as the ship, could not be placed there.

By the end of a very rainy Sunday, we had done two loads of laundry, which I hauled about three blocks to a large laundromat in our folding cart and on which I spent 41 quarters, gotten our AT&T data plan to function properly (which cost Walt well over an hour of trouble-shooting on the phone), had changed Braesail’s engine oil and filter (Walt’s task), had shopped for groceries (also Walt’s task), had stored everything away, had joined our son Martin and some friends in singing the Compline service online, had had pizza for supper, and had done some research regarding our upcoming travels. Another day of rain and fog awaits us . . . we will see how the engine charges our batteries while we motor, since Walt could find nothing amiss with the system.

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