Day 26 – June 23rd – Saturday: Sitka
Great night. Our room has a great view of the harbor which really has a lot of charm. Beautiful temps so we left the window open just to enjoy the beautiful sea breeze which gently rolled in through the night. Stays light almost all night. Must have an effect on the ‘locals’, because at 5am the garbage truck decided that it needed to collect garbage from every can right outside our motel room; every car in Sitka without a muffler decided to have a parade right down the street outside the room…and some Alaskan bush pilot decided that with the glass-like waters, that that was the perfect time for him to do his takeoff. So much for an undisturbed sleep.
Stopped by this lady’s house that I’d seen yesterday. Her yard’s landscaping was gorgeous. She had beautiful azaleas in the yard and had these phenomenal golden chain trees which I don’t recall ever seeing before.
Biked out to the Fortress of the Bear. It was a preserve that was taking in orphaned bears. They had 5 brown bears that were permanent residents, a couple who were about 5 years and 3 siblings that were about 3 years old. They had been able to place several cubs over the years. It was an “interesting” place, but having been in the ‘non-profit’ business for 10 years, the whole project seemed a little marginal as opposed to something that was really doing a consistent job of placing orphaned cubs. Visited the Sitka Historic National Park. More totem poles. Then took a tour of the Russian Bishop’s Home. This place has a fascinating history originally involving the Russians back in the mid to late 1700’s. They basically took the area for all it was worth as far as the fur trade…almost to the point of causing the extinction of the sea otter. Once the productivity of the area started to fade, and since they had no interest in really staying here, that’s when the Russians sold Alaska to the United States in 1867. Also toured the Russian Orthodox Church in town. They actually stand for their entire service which is typically 2-3 hours and sometimes even longer. Ugh!
Biked all the roads we could find…twice. Went back to the harbor and tracked down the guy we met yesterday. He was getting his boat, the Pacific Ranger, ready for the fishing season. Went on board and got a close look at the boat and what those commercial fishermen do. I love to fish, but that job would not be for me. That’s a job that you really ‘gotta want to do it’. Head back to Juneau tomorrow.