Alaska, like much of the Country, has pretty much shut down. Bars, restaurants, the company I was working for. However, I’m fortunate to have a number of trails to explore within walking distance.
Rainbird Trail: Scenic views and a hilly wooded path, this two-and-a-half-mile walk provides a look at the Tongass Narrows and Gravina and Pennock Islands. While moving through the forest, there is a selection of spruce, cedar, hemlock, and pine trees to observe in their tree-fulness.
Deer Mountain Trail: A significantly more strenuous hike than Rainbird, and currently covered in snow at an elevation of about one mile from the base, it only went part of the way up. Deer Mountain is described as “Ketchikan’s iconic and idyllic backdrop.”
Several other locations are within driving distance (only some 30 miles of highway move up the Western coast of Revilla Island), and these include Carlanna Lake Trail, Ward Lake and Perseverance Lake Trail, and the Coast Guard Beach Trail.
I only briefly headed down to Ward Lake, but anticipate further hiking over the weekend. The weather has turned sunny, while still hovering between thirty and forty degrees Fahrenheit.
The history of Ketchikan is closely tied to fishing. As I mentioned last week, the Kadjuck Tlingits made summer fishing camps along the coast of this island at the Tongass Narrows. But it was in 1883 that a salmon saltery (fish packaging operation) was established. This saltery, started by Mike Martin, was the first such business in place.
In 1885, Loring cannery opened its doors; in 1887, the Tongass Packing Company built its cannery; other immigrants began to open businesses, and in 1900, on August the 25th, the City of Ketchikan was incorporated with a population of 459 residents.
Southeast Alaska is one of the great breeding grounds for all species of the Pacific Salmon. There are about 1,100 islands that make up the Alexander Archipelago, which themselves have steep inland ranges and streams (aided by the about 150 inches of rainfall each year). All these factors contribute to the returning salmon runs, some with upwards of one million fish!
During the mid-to-late summer, salmon can be seen running over the falls and fish ladder at Creek Street, right through Downtown Ketchikan.
Well, Covid seems to be playing havoc with my work schedule. I might as well post some information that you might find interesting.
The City of Ketchikan, AK sits on Revillagigedo Island, which is about 89 km (50 mi) long from north to south and 48 km (35 mi) wide from east to west, making it the12th largest island in the United Statesand the167th largest island in the world.
The island is separated from the Alaska mainland to the east by Behm Canal, from Prince of Wales Island to the west by the Clarence Strait, and from Annette Island to the south by Revillagigedo Channel and Nichols Passage.¹
There are two cities on the Island, Ketchikan and Saxman. The name Ketchikan was chosen as the creek which flows through town is Ketchikan Creek. It was named for Kitsch, a Tlingit native who claimed the section of creek for fishing. Kitsch-hen was anglicized to Ketchikan, as the Tlingit didn’t have a formal written language. Hen translates to creek, and Kitsch to “the thundering wings of an eagle”.² Aptly, bald eagles fly and nest along the coast up and down the Southwestern shore.
The other city, Saxman, is famous for its totem poles. It has the largest collection of standing poles in the world, which is impressive as the Saxman is only one square mile.³ Many of Saxman’s totems were apparently stolen in the late 1800s during the Harriman Expedition, which I’m currently researching.
Today is basically half a year of my posting every day. It’s… unbelievable. I wasn’t sure that I’d make it this long keeping up with daily posts. You get in a groove.
Admittedly, some days are harder than others. Some days I’ve found no time to write, heading from one gig to another. Some days I’ve been able to queue up a week’s worth of posts in one sitting.
One or two days, I just got it in under the wire.
This is a bit of a milestone for me, and thank you for taking any time to read this at all. It’s my practice and testing area; an avenue for thoughtfulness and experimentation; and a crucible of trying to come up with the right word for the right situation. But it’s been one-hundred eighty-three days, and damned if I’m not looking forward to the next six months.
A Valentine’s Day rundown. Mostly worked this week. But, some things:
Reading: The Ballad of Black Tomby Victor LaValle. This had been on my to-read list for a couple of years, and I couldn’t remember why I originally put it on. What started as a novella on a Harlem street-hustler (in a moderately magic-filled world) spiraled into Lovecraftian horror. I enjoyed it – a fun, quick read – though I still can’t recall what was it that made me jot it down originally…
Listening: Bach’s Cello Suites. My favorite is 1, which is a ubiquitous piece, but all of them are lovely. I’ve always enjoyed cello music. I’ve been told it’s because the cello makes a sound closest to the human voice of all the instruments. I don’t know if that’s true, but I wanted to revisit some cello music, particularly Bach.
Learning: About Alaska. Currently looking over some information regarding the 1899 Harriman Expedition. Apparently, Teddy Roosevelt was an admirer of the reports of flora and fauna being assembled by the team of the expedition, but it didn’t stop Roosevelt from dismantling Harriman’s railroad company in 1904 in antitrust litigation.
And more on personal libraries, following up from the earlier post:
I didn’t know him. I wasn’t familiar with his work, nor did I know I should be.
I first became aware of James A. Michener during a Twitter Q & A session with another author, discussing Thurber’s The 13 Clocks. Neil Gaiman had said that James Thurber’s book for children was quite possibly his favorite, and was then asked what would be second.
His response was Michener’s Poland. Being Polish myself, I looked this up straight away. Poland is a sweeping novel, spanning 700 pages. And despite my browsings at the library and used book stores, I’ve yet to come across a copy. (I did find it on Amazon, obviously, but I’ve not made the purchase.)
As I’ve been reading Wild, Cheryl Strayed’s account of traversing sections of the Pacific Crest Trail on a three-month through-hike, she mentioned both her mother’s love of Michener novels, as well as reading The Novel on her trek, one of Michener’s books. Again I’m amazed at the interconnectedness of it all – that I can go so long without a hint of one author, only to have him pop up in two very interesting places.
As a preparation, I’ve purchased Alaska on Audible, another of Michener’s epic tales. At 57 hours, I’m sure that I’ll be listening to this for quite some time.
Hello again, campers! Ready for your campfire tales? No? Not really?
I finished listening to the Camp Red Moon short anthology, and it took me a while to recognize the voice in the second story. Kevin T. Collins, who’s performed the audiobooks to the Sam Capra series by Jeff Abbot. Speaking of, it’s about time for another installment in that series.
Anyway, here’s what’s on my plate this week.
Reading: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Just getting started, and I haven’t seen the movie either, but I recognize the desire to travel, isolate, and found yourself. A lot of my library seems geared towards those sentiments, even if they all haven’t been read yet. A 26-year-old, reeling from tragedy, decides to make the 1100-mile solo hike.
Listening: You Learnfrom the Alanis Morrissette jukebox musical Jagged Little Pill. I had this in the nineties (it’s probably still floating around my cd collection somewhere). This ensemble number is really touching, and I enjoy it a lot.
Doing: Goal setting. I’ve been using a couple of resources – Designing Your Life, Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, & Tim Ferris. Before I start making cuts to some of my projects and interests, I want to make sure I’m doing it for the right reason. So having those goals set are important.
The week that passed was a long one, I’m not going to lie. There was a fourteen-hour car ride to Florida, and that was a bit exhausting. Everything before that wasn’t as restful as I would have liked either. Nonetheless, hear are some things that I spent some time with this week.
What I’m reading: Tip of the Icebergby Mark Adams. Just cozying up to this book as the weather is getting cold. Thinking about this past summer in Alaska, and what the future may hold.
What I’m listening to: Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9. Also known as the New World Symphony, this makes me feel like it’s Thanksgiving. I enjoy this recording from the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra.
What I’m spending time on: Dog training.
My 60 lb. boxer is nearly seven years old, partially blind and deaf from an invitro stroke, and ultra-hyper. Breaking him of some bad habits will take a good deal of time, but I’m certain that he and I are up to the challenge.
Other things of interest:
Knives Out, written and directed by Rian Johnson. Wow, I loved this movie. I thought it was well-written, well-directed, and well-acted. With names like Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and Christopher Plummer, it was an excellent ensemble movie. The premise – wealthy suspense novelist dead by apparent suicide following birthday party with suspicious family members – may seem trope, but it leaves you guessing until the end.
Where to buy books online from a website that isn’t Amazon. From Anya Zhukova, here are seven recommendations that include B&N and BAM. I also like AbeBooks and Easton Press for more obscure or special edition volumes. And I go to eBay as well. As I was linking Tip of the Iceberg, it occurred to me that I didn’t want to recommend Amazon for every book I like. So I went with GoodReads, though it is owned by Amazon. Its positives include that it links to retailers other than Amazon, and is enhanced by its users and readers.
And here it is, my Black Friday edition of the Weekly Rundown. As no one will be reading this today I’ll go ahead and post at 2 am. Good morning!
This Black Friday I’m taking REI’s suggestion of getting out into the wilderness. #OptOutside. I’m up in Pennsylvania, hanging out with the Amish. No, really I am. I’ll put up some pictures later this week. But here we go!
What I’m reading: Not Dracula! Finally finished it. After finishing it, I spent some time with Austin Kleon’s Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad. I’ve had the book for a while but hadn’t finished it. I dug it out while putting my notebook together, and figured I’d finish it.
What I’m listening to: Audiobook version of Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House. I listened a lot of the way up to PA. The author’s first book for adults, we have occultism and Ivy League, homicide and mystery. I’d read at least one of Bardugo’s Grisha books before, and this one has much the same flow and tonality; if a bit darker.
What I’m spending time with: Routines. If you’ve read this week you’ll notice that it was a theme. I decided to fix my routine earlier in the month, and as a result I had a few thoughts that popped up. Four posts later, I’m not sure I’m done talking about routines. But that’ll be for later entries.