A young passerby’s gaze is captured by a massive carved Native totem in Sitka, Alaska’s National Historical Park. Bears, eagles, ravens and other creatures are carved on massive felled spruce trees, telling pictorial histories of clans, battles, and oral tradition in Tlingit and Tsimshian totems. Oh, if only this totem could speak to reveal more of its history!
This park is well worthwhile to visit for its Native Tlingit historical significance as well as the many superb totems standing in the forest. The easy footpaths can be traversed in a casual walk over an hour’s time or one can take hours to savor the quiet beauty of a rich rain forest watched over by magnificent totems.
One amusing note about my time spent in this park…bears prowled about Sitka’s environs during the summer of 2009, often in this park which caused path closures. Visitors were advised to be bear aware while strolling the pathways. Dressed in my usual expedition gear of black t-shirt and charcoal zip-off pants (perfect since they don’t show the dirt I collect while rambling and groveling in the wild) my bulky black backpack was also on my back. Off trail a few feet for a photo session with some rain forest vegetation, when I clambered back to the footpath with tripod and big backpack on my back, I nearly gave a cruise ship visitor a heart attack when I came out of the woods. She nearly fainted, thinking I was a big bear about to overtake her. We shared a good laugh about it. Often I wonder if she ever told that story upon returning home and whether I had indeed morphed into a real bear.
Sitka National Historical Park, Sitka, Alaska, USA
August 6, 2009
Canon 50D, Canon 10-22mm lens, Manfrotto tripod, Wimberly II head, cable release, visiting cruise passengers, shutter 1 second, f/18, ISO 400.
Americas~Rural, Urban, Wild, Free 1-26-10