ALASKA – DAY 3

May 26, 2021 | 0 comments

SUNDAY, JULY 1, 2012 – KETCHIKAN >>WRANGELL

It was rainy when we woke up.  We walked to a little snack shop and had a Cinnabon pretzel.  We walked back to the New York Hotel and called Yellow Cab to pick us up at 10:00.  At 10:10, the cab was still not there.  We called again.  Eventually, we had the hotel shuttle take us to the Alaskan Marine Highway dock. 

The Alaska Marine Highway is a state operated system with nine traditional and two fast passenger/vehicle ferries.  It provides residents and visitors with a relaxed atmosphere to experience the scenery, wildlife and hospitality of 33 ports, over a 3,500 mile coastline, between Bellingham, Washington and Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, Alaska on the Aleutian Chain. 

I picked up our ferry tickets for the next three days.  We boarded the marine ferry, Columbia, put our luggage on a cart, went to the upper level and chose a comfy seat on the right side of the ferry. Rain. Rain. Rain.

No whale sightings today.  Darn.

We called the Stikine Inn for a courtesy shuttle when we got to Wrangell (population 2,100).  We had a few minutes to look at the garnets that kids were selling. 

Eight years later, I read that there’s a 38-acre garnet mine at the edge of the river delta where local children mine the garnets.  The mine was deeded to the Boy Scouts in 1962 and only children from Southeast Alaska are allowed to remove garnets and only using hand tools.  I wish now that I would have bought one.

The first inhabitants of Wrangell were of the Tlingit nation who traveled the Stikine River to settle the coastal areas.  In 1861, gold was discovered on the Stikine River, which began Alaska’s gold rush.  Wrangell is the only community in Alaska to have been ruled under four nations: Tlingit, Russia, Great Britain, and the United States.

The shuttle bus driver that took us from the ferry doc to our hotel was a 52 year old native of Wrangell.  Don’t ask me why I know his age.  He evidently offered up that information.When I asked what he’d recommend we do in Wrangell,He mumbled something. The only word I could understand was “die”.

There was a four-day celebration going on in Wrangell when we were there. 

That day’s festivities included a log rolling competition on the City Dock right outside of our hotel.  

Our room at the Stikine Inn only had one bed.  I went back to the front desk and asked Marilyn if we could get a room with two beds.  It was all very confusing to her with the voucher, waterside view, single, double . . . Finally, the manager walked by, and he generously gave us two rooms (right next to each other) at no additional cost.  We could see the log rolling competition from our rooms.

We walked through the rainy, torn up streets of Wrangell.  Wyatt Earp, John Muir, and President Harding walked these same streets.  Nothing was open on Sunday afternoon/evening.  I think The whole town was at the dock watching the log rolling.

We headed north towards Petroglyph Beach.  According to the map, we need to turn left on Grave Street.  About a half mile into our journey, T.J. noticed the overweight, 52-year old shuttlebus driver walking ahead of us.  I told T.J. that I thought he probably knew we were going to Petroglyph Park, and he’s going ahead of us to dig a hole for our bodies.  I don’t think they call it Grave Street for nothing . . . and, I did hear him mumble something about “die”. 

The sign for Petroglyph Beach looks like a petroglyph.  If you actually make it to the beach, you’ll see an elaborate wooden structure with replica petroglyphs welcoming you to the beach.

On the beach, we initially had a hard time locating any petroglyphs.  It was a strange, rocky, seaweedy beach with lots of blue clam shells.  I don’t have any photos of the elaborate wooden welcome structure or the blue clam shells. TJ impressed me with his rock skipping ability.  We eventually found an area with several petroglyphs (according to the literature, they were probably carved 1,000 years ago, but could be up to 8,000 years ago). 

The beach is surrounded by fairly run down homes with interesting collections scattered about their yards. 

Once we got back to the Stikine Inn, we asked Marilyn where (besides the hotel) she’d recommend we get a bite to eat.  She said the only other place open is at the other end of town – the Marine Bar.  We walked there along the garnet (?) embedded concrete sidewalk.  I so wanted to pick one of those red rocks out of the sidewalk.  It was a long walk.  When, we got to the Marine Bar, We ate frozen beef chimichangas that had been heated in the microwave, along with chips and cheese.

We headed back to the hotel – and our two rooms – and went to bed early.  There were lame fireworks at 10:00. 

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