Ketchikan

June 17

Eagles must be optimists. We were early for the salmon run, but the eagles didn’t mind. They were looking for those pesky fish anyway. We saw them in the air, sitting in trees, perched on poles

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on rocks near the water,

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and on pilings.

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Because there weren’t mass quantities of salmon yet, we didn’t expect to see bears but let me pan back just a little from the eagle on the piling.

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That little black speck on the right center is a black bear! We watched him move around there for several minutes and then our guide suggested that we move along to the old hatchery a short walk down the road. As we walked, we could see another group coming up the road toward us and then the tour guides said “STOP!!” Just about then, this guy decided to head home, crossing the road right in front of us and between the two groups of tourists.

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No one was foolish enough to try to get closer for a selfie with it, but we felt privileged to get to see a bear up close and personal! The guide said he was probably last year’s cub, about a year old.

Our next stop was at an Saxman Indian village, which is known for their collection of totem poles, the largest collection of standing totem poles in the world. We viewed the carving shed and saw craftsmen designing a newly commissioned piece. with unfinished work still around.

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We were told that most poles have to be paid for in advance, but we saw some on the ground that had been commissioned but the financial backing apparently never came through. I wish I knew the meanings of the various figures on the ones standing.

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Totem poles usually are commemorating characters or events and are not religious. One we saw at Saxman had Abraham Lincoln on the top after he visited there, but most are celebrating characteristics of a person or event rather than a realistic statue of that person.  For instance, if a wolf has a particular significance in a person’s life, that may be his totem. This one was a popular photo op.

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The Clan House stands about in the center of the area and has no windows. We weren’t able to go inside.

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