Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sitka, Alaska: June 15-16

We arrived at 3:15am and had a much easier time setting up camp in what was only a slight drizzle. After driving to the end of the island, we found a beautiful trail to hike called "Indian River," which took us through thick, lush rain forest. In the afternoon we walked around the small downtown to view the historic sites. Sitka was the capitol of Russian America, so many of the stores sell nesting dolls and other Russian souvenirs and the town is full of buildings with Russian history and architecture. Overall, we have found Sitka much more enjoyable than Ketchikan. The houses are tidier and prettier, and it caters less to the cruise-ship crowd (i.e. fewer t-shirt and trinket shops, and more art galleries and cafes). The quality of artwork and craftsmanship is much higher here, although so are the prices to reflect this! Last night we attended the Sitka Music Festival, a concert of chamber music in the community center where the stage was backed by a 180 degree view of the Sitka Harbor and the mountains beyond. Today we began with a dance performance by a Russian dance troupe. Then we walked over to the Native Alaskan Cultural Center for a traditional Tlingit (native tribal) dance show. Next was the Raptor Center, a rehabilitation center for injured raptors, where we arrived just in time to see a bald eagle up close who had was permanently disabled and lives at the center. They are enormous, several feet high, but only weigh about 12 pounds. We walked around the grounds and observed many bald & golden eagles, ravens, owls, hawks, and other raptors recovering from various injuries, including collisions with cars and gunshot wounds. There were even several wild eagles flying around - we assuming they were visiting their friends and helping with their recovery! Tomorrow morning we'll go on a ranger-led hike around the Sitka National Historic Park, and then board the ferry to Juneau.


Coastal Tides Photography said...

The trail pictures were beautiful! Loved the starfish.