I PROMISED ALASKA   19 comments

I hesitate to post these pictures, given the amazing photos presented by other bloggers. But this is what I have, and I promised it.

My son produces the beautiful photographs. Mine are just a record of where I’ve been. Fortunately for you I don’t take a lot of people pictures.

Anyway, let’s start in Ketchikan, the first stop on our Holland America Line cruise. I guess I should have known, but I didn’t realize what a powerful cultural influence is played by Native Americans in Alaska. (or should they be called, as in Canada, the first peoples? I like the latter.) Anyway, just off the boat, there was this totem, too tall for me to get entirely into the photo. Totem


So I took this detail photo.

Totem detail

And then a couple of casual scenes






Ketchikan 1









I made sure to get a shot of Dolly’s place. No longer officially an active occupation, but apparently she was a standout in the prostitution business back in the heady gold rush days – and a community leader as well.

Dolly's Place - Version 2



Along the way I discovered this Salmon by the artist Terry Pyles.  Dedicated July 4, 2013, it was named  “Yeltatzie Salmon” in honor of Halda Native Carver Jones Yeltatzie (1900-1976) whose wood carving (1963) it replaced.

Ketchikan Salmon








Later, because it was allowed, I took a shot inside the museum.


Ketchikan Museum



I won’t include photos of the jewelry I bought. Apparently that’s the thing to do in Juneau, but I did get a shot of the neighborhood around the jewelry stores.


Followed in the early evening by a seaplane flight over the glaciers.

Seaplane over Glaciers

I confess I was surprised to see so much green. A friend of mine says she has comparative photos of the glaciers with a five year difference that show how much less ice there is now.

from plane


ICY STRAIT POINT was the next photo op on the cruise. We paid to go on an excursion offering a chance to see bears on the first land-based half and a promise to see whales on the second half of the trip. On the first lap we saw no living bears — or animals of any kind. They just didn’t feel like showing up. So, this stump carving was the only bear we saw.

Only bear we saw


Then we headed for the whale watching piece of the tour, only to be told at the last minute that it was cancelled due to technical difficulties. Yes, we did get that portion of the fee back. No, I didn’t see any bears or whales while I was in Alaska.


One of my photos in Anchorage is of the flea market where I acquired sundry small items made from things like fossilized whale bone, fish vertebrae, moose hair. And some leather bags for next to nothing price-wise. What I like best about the flea market photo is the sky.

Flea Market


And then theres the area outside the museum.

Anchorage Museum

Inside the museum I managed to get a couple of shots — not the only things that attracted, but quick studies.

museum piece 1








6-29 museum piece









Next stop Homer and the amazingly beautiful Norman Lowell Gallery. I deprived myself of some lovely wandering by waiting until I could get this photo of a main gallery without any people in it. Not easy to do, because tourists love to get photos of each other in front of what they’ve seen. Anyway, here’s what I finally accomplished with much patience. That’s a painting of the northern lights in the center.

Norman Lowell Gallery

As a mark of the long way the artist has come since arriving in Alaska, we had access to the homestead cabin where he and his wife began their adventure.

Homestead Cabin








and two shots of the interior.

Homestead Cabin 2









I have to admit I learned something I should probably have known — how very recent was the homesteading activity in Alaska, as reflected by the materials in the cabin.

Interior of cabin











Approaching the ship on the way back from the Homer expedition I spotted a community of ladies and midwives waiting for delivery.




In Kodiak I learned something else I should probably have known  — the strong Russian influence as reflected in this Russian Orthodox Church, reported to be the oldest in the U.S., and the apparent faith of most of the Tlinkit.

Oldest Orthodox in U.S. 1794

Interior orthodox church








     And the interior


We spent July 2 slowly circling the Hubbard Glacier — a most beautiful day with an astounding view. Check the header of this blog to get a sense of it.


The display of Tlinkit dancing in Sitka was bright and colorful. First a photo of the stage, and then the photo op outside with the dancers  – of all ages. Many moms dancing with their babes in arms, but men, boys, girls, and us for a while (though without the colorful costumes.)

Dance Theater

Sitka dancers 03

We also got a clear view of Mt. Edgecomb. It hasn’t erupted in recent history, but there was the incident they tell about where practical jokers set a stack of tires ablaze at its top, producing a brief scare for the town.


Our last stop in Sitka was a totem park. I managed to get a couple of  pictures, but it’s hard without also getting a tourist in front of the subject. But again,with patience, I got a shot of one of them.

totem 2


And then Victoria, with a walk through the Agkhazi gardens and tea in the tea house.

Agkhazi Garden 7-5

Tea House, 7-5 Abkhazi Garden

Now the tour of Alaska is over. We disembarked in Seattle with some time to spare before the flight home, so we explored a bit of the town. First the space needle — an adventure in height (which doesn’t bother me if I don’t have to rely and my own feet to keep me grounded). The view was spectacular as expected.

And I got a shot of the work of art just outside the entrance.

Outside space needle

Because I got in the habit of photographing markets when we did the Asia/Pacific tour, I took a shot of the Seattle Farmer’s Market. Too bad we weren’t staying there long enough to enjoy some of the wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables, and the amazing flowers. The crowds, though! Oh, the crowds!

7-6 Farmer's Market

AND THIS IS THE END. Thanks for coming

19 responses to “I PROMISED ALASKA

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  1. Thanks for taking me. I enjoyed your photos and memories. 🙂

  2. And Suz, I’ve been battling the system. I think what you got had an awful lot of mixed up stuff. Anyway, the photos were there. I think the system has calmed down now. And thanks for noticing and commenting. You are a very generous lady.

  3. I felt like I went on the trip with you. These were awesome totem poles. I have always been fascinated by them. The views are gorgeous and it seems the air is sparkling clear and clean

  4. Great photos!

  5. Wow, Mona! Loved all the art! And you are a pretty good photographer, too. I admire all of the travel you have been able to do. It’s wonderful to hear from you this way. Northern lights painting , first large totem pole ( very much like Hawaii totems),midwives, and the market were my favorite. Great Cultural photo-journalism! Sharon Lombardi

  6. Mona, my favories series has been “Northern exposure” – about the new Yorkian Doctor Joel Fleishman having to serve as physician in a little town called Cicely – and during 4 years are acclimated. If you ever can get the DVDs, I think you will love them. And so I call myself an Alaskian connoisseur now:) and have enjoyed your photos very much!

    • Oh I remember that show well. Loved it! In fact, I took it a little personally when the guy who played the doctor decided he didn’t want to work on the show anymore, causing its demise. That was good TV! And now –I’m sick and tired of murder and mayhem. It might even drive me back to reading during that last relaxing hour of the evening.

      • did he really? to me, that end was perfect: New York is not a place, it is a state of mind 🙂
        I have all the episodes and look at them often – what a teaching in surrealism
        – and reality ♥- they are

      • Yes, he did. (At least that’s the way I remember it.) And the writers brought the series to a good end, but I wanted it to continue. Such wonderful characters. I haven’t seen much to meet that quality since.

  7. wonderful memories… it’s reminded me of splendid Hokkaido: 🙂

  8. The trip looks like it was awesome!

  9. Another wonderful adventure!

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