Thursday, August 09, 2007


I took a tour around Southeast Alaska in 1995, holding trainings for child care providers and foster parents to satisfy their licensing requirements. I also did site-visits to the child care facilities, whether centers or homes, to observe and offer suggestions for ways to make things work better and did one-on-one counseling with foster parents.

One of the communities I visited was Craig, which has a population of 1,397 and 523 households as of 2000. This picture is of the float plane dock. Click to enlarge and see the size of the dock and the plane. I took a plane out of Craig, having to walk about 123 feet from my hotel, the Haida-Way Inn (a pun on the local Native American tribe, the Haida). When the pilot landed, he opened the plane door, stood on the running board pontoon (there's no running board on a float plane!), and grabbed one of those posts with one hand to bring the plane to a complete stop.

Craig is on Prince of Wales Island, and I flew in to the Klawock Airport. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of it and I can't find one on the web. It is an 18' (that's right, eighteen foot) landing strip with a bus shelter on the side in case you need to wait for the plane to land, and when it does it rolls up to the four step stair case parked on the edge, and you get out. Then you get in the waiting van, and you are driven into Craig. The van stops in a trailer court and the pilot gets out and you go on. Unless you are a resident, you go to the Haida-Way.

This is the medical complex. Doctor's office, dentist's office, emergency room. In 1995, and I have no reason to believe that it has changed since, the dentist flew in once a quarter and took care of teeth. The cars in the parking lot are all the staff and patients who were there the day I took the picture. Notice the ambulance. Craig is currently advertising for a doctor for the clinic; I'm not certain if they had one full time in 1995 or if this is new.

And these are old tanks that I thought were interesting looking. They are long out of use, and as I remember they were once part of the Ward Cove Cannery.

When I visited commercial fishing had been severely restricted and fishing tours were filling in the economic void. I see that these days there is a barge mounted fish processing plant, so I suspect that commercial fishing has recovered.

I was in Craig for almost a week, and there were two restaurants that I explored. One was a rather fancy one, where I had clam chowder. One taste and I knew the recipe -- equal amounts of canned cream of celery soup, canned clams, canned sliced new potatoes. The other would have been a truck stop had Craig any trucks, instead it fed skinny fishermen. I ordered a half order of biscuits and gravy and not only were they the best I had ever eaten, the half order filled a dinner plate. Then a group of fishermen came in and ordered "the regular" which turned out to be a platter of biscuits and gravy, a platter of eggs and ham, and a dinner plate of bacon and sausages. Each. Plus orange juice and endless coffee. And, these guys burn so many calories in their work, they ate every bit on their plates.

I didn't go back to the clam chowder place. The other place served so much calorie dense food, and I was still dieting in those days, so I only went there once or twice more. Mostly, I bought food at the grocery store and ate in my room.

Craig is also the town I was in when the events of Cawthorne Musters The Troops occurred. I sat on a bench and watched the crows deal with the eagle for a good 45 minutes.

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