Monday, August 13, 2007


After I left Skagway, I took the water taxi to Haines. The 2000 population was 2,392; I think it was smaller when I went in 1995. Every November bald eagles from all over southeast Alaska hold a salmon feed in Haines. Any of you who have seen the poster about eagles don't flock need to know that, indeed, when there are enough of them, they do. I've counted over 24 roosting in one tree in Juneau, and they flock in groups of 50 or so in Sitka, and absolutely in November in Haines there are over 3,000 of them. There is a late salmon run, and they come and feast. Tourists come and watch.*

This picture is a sundial. Because of the angle of the earth's tilt, and our long nights in winter and long days in summer, the standard sundial doesn't work here. But, I've been told that this one is accurate year round.

This is a piece of mining equipment from the gold rush days. You find things that look like they were designed by the same people who designed this all over the state. I find them very interesting, but like with this, I often read the plaque and am certain that I will remember what it is, and then 12 years later, I've forgotten. Perhaps one day I'll learn to write these things down. Or, one day I'll take all of my pictures of "interesting" old equipment to a mining museum and have them identified. The problem is that when I realize that I no longer know what this is, it is usually about 12:30 at night and I'm writing a blog entry and so I don't take it anywhere.

I love this picture. Downtown Haines. I think it's the main street. The local Mexican food/pizza place**. Taken about 5:15 on a week day. No traffic at all. People have all walked home by now, except the few that drove, and the streets are clear again.

When I first moved to Juneau, a woman I was talking to told me she had been to Haines, and after two hours there wasn't anything more to do. And if you are looking for things that will entertain you, she is right. But you can fish and hunt and pick berries and visit friends -- if you live there and know about these things. I am always amazed when I visit a small community at how busy the residents are and how hard they are to find because they are all off doing things. Most often in groups.

Last year Teens In Action sent a girl from Haines to Michigan with kids from Craig, Sitka, and Juneau for a MADD Powercamp. And while she was in Juneau she told me that she didn't think she'd like to go to Juneau Douglas High School, because there are so many students (according to Wikipedia, 1800). There are all of 80 in the high school in Haines and she didn't like the idea of seeing kids in school who she hadn't known for years. She not only knows all the kids in her high school, she knows where they all live and what their parents do for a living. For many of them she could give generational histories including the people their ancestors dated and didn't marry.

When I left Haines, I waited in the lobby of the hotel and a young man came in, looked and saw that I was the only one waiting, said, "Joycelyn?" and I said yes. So he drove me out to a small airstrip and flew me to Juneau and carried my bag to the cab. Since I've taken a lot of these small planes, and sometimes the pilot will assign tasks (you are in charge of the fire extinguisher, you let me know if anyone looks green), when I remember I take bags of peanuts to pass out, which I did that day. The pilots love it. And I figure, why should I miss peanuts just because there are only two to six of us and no flight attendant?

* I had recorded Mystery last night after I went to bed, and when I watched it this morning it had caught the last two minutes of a show about Unalaska, a small fishing village in the Aleutians. A man with a wonderful Scot's accent was talking and he said, "The day I arrived, I'd been in town about half an hour, and I was walking down the street, and this eagle caught a gull and landed about six feet in front of me and ate it. So, I said to a man sitting in front of the bar, 'that eagle just caught that gull and is eating it'. And he said to me, 'he must be hungry.'"

** We have lots of duel ethnicity restaurants in southeast Alaska. Well, actually we don't have lots of restaurants, but every town has at least one like this. In Juneau we had a combined Taco Bell and Subway in town and combined Taco Bell and Baskin Robbins (not that they ever had over 12 flavors at a time) in the valley. We still do have Kenny's Wok and Teriyaki Sushi Bar and a place in the valley that is Greek, Mexican, and Italian.


Deja Pseu said...

The combined restaurants are probably great for families, too. Greater odds everyone will get to eat something they like!

J at said...

These stories kind of remind me of driving on route 50 to/from Tahoe. There's a tiny town named Kyburz, and the sign in front of the store/restaurant/watering hole says, "Welcome to are now leaving Kyburz".


Ginnie said...

I would be completely overwhelmed if I saw a flock of eagles. I've seen just two in my lifetime and they were both when I visited Anchorage last year.