Today, around 11,000 steps took us here and there around the town of Wrangell, AK, whose development was based on the fur trade, fishing, logging, and three gold rushes; seafood production and tourism, especially wildlife viewing, are now the most significant local “industries.” Cloudy (but dry!) mild weather enhanced our explorations of some residential and commercial areas, the more-tourist-oriented downtown shops, Wrangell’s central waterfront, the GCI store (Walt needed to purchase a data plan for his smartphone, which is too outdated for AT&T to deal with), a cute little bakery (yumm–fireweed shortcake bars!), and the Chief Shakes Historic Site on Shakes Island (the Chief Shakes Tribal House on this lovely little island in a Wrangell harbor is a replica of the traditional Tlingit clan house of the Naanyaa.aayi Clan; we found it closed, but we did see a charming fawn munching marsh grass at the edge of island). We paid a visit to a small but very attractive totem park containing several old, weathered poles, and wandered around the nearby building and flower-filled grounds of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, founded as the People’s Church in 1903 by a Presbyterian congregation of Alaskan Natives under the direction of its minister.
We spent some very enjoyable and educational browsing time in the Wrangell Museum, whose handsome displays introduce visitors to the history, heritage, culture, and peoples of the Wrangell area. The intricately carved original house posts from the interior of the Chief Shakes Tribal House, thought to be the oldest house posts in existence, are now among the fascinating items that comprise the museum’s collection (in the museum gift shop, Walt found a book relevant to his studies and added it to HIS ever-growing collection!)
Following our museum visit, we picked up a few groceries at a very well-stocked and -organized store and dined on fish and chips at a pub as rain returned, and then took a cab back to the docks where Braesail is resting until Friday noon
because slogging another soggy mile didn’t appeal to us after the morning’s exercise (taking good naps did appeal!). Tomorrow we plan to visit (by tour boat and then on foot) the renowned Anan Wildlife Observatory in the Tongass National Forest.