Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ketchikan, Alaska: June 12-13

When we arrived on the ferry, the first place we visited was Saxman Village, a native Alaskan community of Tlingit Indians. We lucked out when we talked to a local and were invited to view an inter-tribal meeting/celebration where there was native singing and dancing. The meeting took place in what appeared to be the local high school gym and the entertainment was staged solely for the local tribe and guests without any anticipation that outsiders/tourists would attend. We slipped in through a side door after a local tribe member told us to pretend we were part of his family if anyone asked, and we just tried to lay low and blend in despite the fact that we are clearly not of native Alaskan descent and were not dressed in traditional Tlingit garb! We had a classic "are we having fun yet?" moment as we attempted to set up our tent in a driving wind and rain storm...this was after we had to shoo away a local homeless woman who had obviously set up long-term "housing" in our campsite. The night got even more interesting when, just as we were about to turn in, we discovered that our rain flap was not meant to function in the cyclone-like deluge that this Southeast Alaskan rainforest had dished out. Our sleeping bags and pads were drenched and our tent was raining from within! After somehow surviving the night, we had a respite from the rain for a few hours the next morning and took advantage of the nicer weather to go ziplining and repelling through the Tongass National Forest. For the remainder of the day we walked around downtown and enjoyed the town, despite the continuing rain, before turning in early to get a few hours sleep before waking at 1:15am to catch the ferry to Sitka.


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