|Sitka National Historical Park|
|Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Downtown Sitka|
The only thing I ever read about Sitka before the trip was The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon. It's not about real Sitka, but about a counterfactual Sitka that was settled in the 1950s by Jews whose alternate reality had caused them to be barred from creating the state of Israel. A wonderful book -- but not really relevant.
John Muir's last trip to Alaska was in 1890. While his travels around a decade earlier had been in very rough conditions, by this time there were many tourists in purpose-built cruise ships of that era, and he traveled at least part of the time in much more comfortable conditions. Here is one day's journal entry from 1890 that I found especially charming:
July 7. Another fine day; scarce a cloud in the sky. The icebergs in the bay are miraged in the distance to look like the frontal wall of a great glacier. I am writing letters in anticipation of the next steamer, the Queen.
She arrived about 2.30 P.M. with two hundred and thirty tourists. What a show they made with their ribbons and kodaks! All seemed happy and enthusiastic, though it was curious to see how promptly all of them ceased gazing when the dinner-bell rang, and how many turned from the great thundering crystal world of ice to look curiously at the Indians that came alongside to sell trinkets, and how our little camp and kitchen arrangements excited so many to loiter and waste their precious time prying into our poor hut.
|Alaska Raptor Center: this bald eagle can't fly, but he's calm when faced with a crowd of tourists.|
All today's photos are by Len.