Sunday, June 19, 2011

Alaska Totem Bight Historical Park - Day 4 - June 19, 2011

We went to Totem Bight Historical Park. We rode the blue line bus to the end of its line which is at the park, where it turns around and heads south again. We learned that a "bight" is a small, narrow inlet on the coast, that looks almost like a giant took a "bite" out of it. The bight at the park is beautiful and there are some pictures below. Mostly, however, this park is about totem poles and native history.

This is one of the two totems that are at the beginning of the trail through the forest that is the background for the displayed totems. Juel and I are excited to see the totems here.  We don't yet know much about totems but we should learn as Ketchikan is known for having the most totems anywhere.

I love this large totem.  The picture doesn't even show the very bottom. I stood right next to the totem and took the picture which gives this interesting view. I had seen a picture done like this and I knew I had to try it.  I like this view. It gives a nice sense of the height of the totem.

The Clan House - we were told that as many as five family groups may live together in a dwelling like this.

The Clan House was built with only one door as a protection against enemies. The lowest status family had to live the closest to the door as it was the most vulnerable spot.  A second door has been carefully cut into the side to allow visitors more easy access.

Inside of the Clan House showing the front entrance and the newly added entrance. The center square is filled with sand for a fire pit.


Juel coming out the entrance to the Clan House -- shows how small this opening is.

Me coming out of the Clan House. It is awkward to walk out bent over like that.

When we walked down by the water (bight) we saw a young boy taking pictures and asked him what he was shooting.  He pointed out this eagle high in a tree. This is a young eagle as it does not have the white which comes with maturity.

Low tide shows the tide pools, drift wood and other treasures to be found.

Another view of the Clan House as Juel takes a picture.

Boardwalk between the park and the water. We could view both the totems and the narrows.

Informational signs like this one were located throughout the park. We began on learning of totem poles.  This one explained some of the commonly seen creatures on totems.

We cut through this space and enjoyed the tide pools, driftwood and all the beauty.

Juel inspects this totem up close. Notice the initials carved into the side of the totem. It is so sad the amount of this kind of damaged that we saw.  These totems are such a beautiful connection to the past and yet some feel the need to leave their own marks defacing the art.  Grandma posed by the totem, too.

Posing in the beauty of the forest...

Grandma poses too!

The forest where the park is located is old. Many trees are down or exposed. But it was so nice and quiet when the two tour groups that had been near us left.

Through the trees and down on the shore we found so many interesting things to investigate. It was low tide so there were lots of tide pools, both large and small.

This looks so interesting. Attention Grandsons...Can you boys figure out what this (above) is before you look at the next picture.

Did you guess?

It is a tree on its side. The first picture was a look at the exposed roots from below.

The shore was loaded with rocks.

The rocks showed off lots of treasures including this crab.  Sadly the crab was dead, probably due to being stranded on the rocks when the tides went back out.

One of the smaller tide pools. We examined lots of them.  We really should have our waterproof boots on.  We also need a net to get things out of the pools for a closer look. But we came to the park to see totem poles. So we were not prepared for exploring near the water. We must travel more prepared.

One of the larger tide pools.

Looking into more tide pools for the many hidden treasure.  Boys, see what you can find.

Sadly this crab was also dead even though it was in water.

Mary taking pictures of the tide pools.

Mary is takes a picture of Juel taking a picture of her.  I am further out on the rocks looking back to the forest. Juel is facing out toward the narrows.

Mary had just taken a picture of Juel taking a picture of her.

Looking out over Tongrass Narrows.

I love driftwood.  Wish I could collect some of it and bring it home. So I will settle for pictures of it.

The view of the mountains across Tongrass Narrows.

Back at the beginning. This is the other totem that is at the start of the trail.  We were so disappointed as the little information house was closed.  We had peaked in there before we entered the park and they had lots of interesting books we wanted to check out.  The lady that had been inside was nearby and she pointed us to a gift shop. She said that even though they had lots of books at the gift shop they were "not as intellectual" as the ones in the information house. So we will have to go back. Not that we will mind another chance to see the totems again.

Below are pictures of interesting things at the gift shop.

A walrus.

A mask.

A mountain goat.

Juel said these are mushrooms growing on the side of the tree stump. She said that natives in Bethel would collect them. They were crushed and then it was "chewed"...many natives used chew, even the women.

More flowers for Richard and everyone to enjoy. We see so many beautiful flowers here.

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