A Travellerspoint blog

13 June – Ketchikan – Seattle

totems and guns and cars (and other stuff)

Last night after supper of fish and chips at a the Alaska Fish House, I went to our B&B's back yard to look around. There I saw our Wilderness Explorer sailing north through the Tongass Narrows on its reverse voyage with passengers to Juneau.

Upon the recommendation of our host at the Black Bear Inn, we spent the morning exploring the Totem Bight State Historical Park north of Ketchikan. The park features 15 re-carved/recreated totem poles and a “Clan House” built in the '30’s by local artisans using only the primitive hand tools and paints that were used by the first peoples to live in Alaska. The precision with which the huge beams of the clan house were cut and fitted together reminded us of the woodworking skills that would have been necessary to build a very large boat.
The park also had several "nursery trees," where a tree has died and other trees started to grow from it as it decays.

Just outside the park is a private exhibit with an obligatory gift shop. We went into the gift shop and discovered that the owner was a collector of antique cars and guns and had his collection on display. The collection of antique firearms was amazing with Russian, English and American weapons dating back to the 1700’s. Of particular note were the 0.12 caliber revolver and a 1.0 caliber rifle that was described as having a recoil almost as deadly as the 1” projectile it fired. He also had a very early model of a Gattling gun (see picture) and a Moose head mounted at the height it would be if it were still attached to a moose – very tall.

After "playing tourist" in at the totem places and Ketchikan, we bought a picnic-style lunch at Safeway, dropped the car at the Ferry-to-Airport parking lot, and took the 2.5 minute ferry across the Tongass Narrows to the airport. While we waited for our plane, we ate our lunch, and saw 3 other couples from our "un-cruise" that were heading back to the "lower 48" that afternoon. I did have some stress going through the TSA check-in. Turns out that luggage scanners don't like bags of coffee beans or boxes of tea. They tore through my carry-ons, finding the coffee and tea and nothing else to interest them. The coffee and tea were returned to my bags and I got to repack them.

We returned to the Coast Gateway Hotel for the night. Our plans are to spend the rest of the week with Sandy's sister and dad, but first we are going to an aviation museum in the morning.

Posted by dasafish 20:37 Archived in USA Tagged ketchikan totem_bight_park

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