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Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Missouri

I’ve wanted to come here for years! It is near the town of Gallatin, MO. The prophet, Joseph Smith, laid out a town here in 1838 to provide for the increasing number of church-member immigrants. They had to abandon the town when persecutions increased. He named the town in tribute to Adam, the patriarch of the human race.
This is a picture overlooking the valley of Adam-Ondi-Ahman. Spring Hill and Tower Hill are across the valley from this point.

Maybe you can read this information sign that is located at the Tower Hill Overlook:

This is overlooking the valley from Tower Hill. In case you can’t read the sign, in the above pic, this was named Tower Hill because Joseph had found ruins of an ancient Indian tower.

Adam-Ondi-Ahman is a beautiful place with a peaceful spirit. There was a large group in the picnic area. Someone was speaking to them about the history when we were there. There is a great place for a large group to sit and overlook the valley.

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Anhluut’ukwsim Laxmihl Angwinga’asanskwhl Nisga’a to Telkwa

Whew! I almost didn’t get that out! The first part of the title means: Nisga’a Memorial Lava Beds – but you probably knew that.
We have been learning all about totem poles this week. This first pic is of a long house at Totem Bight Historical Park in Ketchikan. A “bight” is a curved cutout on the coast that has a bay and a sandy beach. It looks like a giant took a big bite out of the land. The early natives liked those areas because they are somewhat protected from the weather. They used to build these long houses that were multi-family dwellings. Inside, it is one big room with multiple levels around the sides. The higher your status in the clan, the more privacy you got (like a screen or panel that divided your living area from the others). The hole at the bottom of the middle totem is the entryway. There is also one on the side.

Poor planning makes for a couple rough days. When we voted ourselves off the Prince of Wales Island, we didn’t check on the other ferry schedule. So, we had to take a night ride (9pm to 3am) from Ketchikan to Prince Rupert, BC. We thought we’d better get some sleep and thought a room would give us a better chance than the solarium lounge chair. I’m not so sure it did. I don’t think I slept at all. Don might have gotten a little. We ended up driving for a couple hours and then pulling over for a nap. We headed east on Hwy 16, back to the Terrace area. Then we turned north on Hwy 113 to go see the Lava Beds. This guy gave us directions from the side of the road – yup, we’re back in BC, where we see the most bears 🙂 He was talking with his mouth full of berries though.

They know, now, that the volcano errupted in 1775. A spanish ship was anchored near the Portland Inlet and he recorded it in his journal. The record says when he saw, the next morning, that the water was black and all the dead fish, he pulled up anchor and left. There were about 6,000 people living in the area at the time. About 2,000 of them died from the erruption. They were either killed by the lava itself or were hit by floating debris in the rivers as they tried to escape. This area is preserved as a memorial to those who died. The sign asks visitors “not to remove any lava because it is the headstone of their ancestor”. The lava flow drastically changed the terrain, lakes and rivers in the area. There are places that look like wastelands, with nothing but moss covered lava. In other places, near the streams, it is as lush as a rain forest. As trees die they decay and build up the soil on top of the lava. Water that runs over the lava beds are crystal clear. This is a pic of Vetter Creek Falls, a short walk from the roadside parking area.

We checked out a few of the First Nation villages in this area. The one below is in the town of New Aiyansh. The town got moved after the volcano destroyed the first one. Paintings on the front of the long house is as common as the totems. They use the same symbols for painting as carving. It looks like they mostly use the long houses for government administration and community gatherings now.
We went out to this village to see the fish wheel on the Nass River. We couldn’t get very close to it but we could see that it was in operation. The fish wheel captures the fish and holds them live. I’m not sure if they just use the fish to feed the community or if they also harvest the eggs. This town sign has symbols of all four clans in the area: Raven, Bear, Whale and Wolf They each have a specific meaning in their stories. I can’t remember them all. The whale is an orca and represents food or feeding the people. The raven represents the creator. He created the sun and people and he melted the ice to end the ice age. I don’t know what a lizard represents but a frog is lucky. Sometimes they’ll put a frog on a totem at the front of the house to keep it from tipping over.

The next pic shows a girl riding an orca because that represents the story. The girl was sitting on the beach one day and the whale came up to her and said, “If you go with me, I will make sure your family is always fed.” So she rode off with him.
Totems were used for different purposes. Some totems are reminders for telling important stories. Some are memorial totems, used to honor a dead person (usually only one carving at the top of the pole and very little, if anything, carved below it). The clans respected each other. They had a complex social structure. People could only marry someone from a different clan.

We are in Telkwa tonight. All the rivers around here are world class steelhead fisheries. Ft Telkwa is on the Bulkley River. It has the nicest showers I have ever used in an RV park! (very roomy, private, unmetered, hot water, piped-in music – talk about luxury!)

Prince Rupert, BC to Ketchikan, AK via Ferry

Okay, we still don’t know what time sunrise is. We sat in line for the ferry from 4:45am – 6:30am. It is so foggy that we couldn’t really tell when the sun came up. Sure can tell we’re back on the coast! This is the scene as we left the port at Prince Rupert.
This is the scene (below) as we pulled into port at Ketchikan. If you squint, and look real hard, you can see the white cruise liner to the right of the darker boats on the left. It only got more foggy as we went north. The seas were pretty calm. I guess because we were not travelling in the open ocean. We did see a couple pods of whales on the way. They were headed south. The first pod had maybe 8 or 10 whales in it. We could usually see 3 or 4 spouts at a time and a couple times we saw them breach the surface (no jumping, just their backs).
The pic below is a salmon berry. They also come in bright or dark red. I don’t know if the color is an indication of the ripeness, maybe our Oregon family will enlighten me?
Ketchikan is a neat little town; lots of totem poles. There were 4 cruise ships in port when we got in. There is a downtown section, full of tourist shops, that were bustling! We drove from one end of town to the other, checked out the Walmart (way out here!) and the campgrounds and RV park. We chose to stay at Ward Lake Rec. Area, in Signal Creek Campground. The hemlock, cedar and huge spruce trees are beautiful. It looks like trees grow right back up even after the tree has fallen down and left it’s roots. This is considered a rain forest.
All types of salmon, except the chinook, are in this lake and the creek next to our campsite. The spawning pink and chum salmon are making more noise than the running water. I don’t know who that is standing at the mouth of Ward Creek, catching pink salmon with every cast (fly or spin). There are also dolly varden, sea-run cut-throat and raibow trout.
This isn’t our campsite but it is similar. I woke up early this morning. It stopped raining last night but was still overcast. I took the camera outside to take some pics of the salmon. When I was finished, I took a few steps back towards the camper, when a small black bear caught my eye on the trail next to our campsite. We exchanged glances. Then he went on down the trail to fish and I went on up to the camper to change my underwear. hahaha – just kidding! But I sure thought about it! He was only about 3 feet high at his back. But still, that’s too big to want to pet. I think I was in his fishing spot. He walked down the trail and I could see him in the creek but I was too flustered to get any pix. He chased some salmon up on the bank. He didn’t eat any and most of them made their way back into the water. One was stranded. I wonder if he’ll come back and eat it later tonight or tomorrow morning?

Terrace, BC to Prince Rupert, BC

We travelled west on the Yellowhead Hwy (16) from Terrace, BC to Prince Rupert, BC. It was pretty windy in spots and reminded us of Hood River on the Columbia River Gorge – only smaller (a 2-lane highway between the railroad tracks and the overhanging cliffs).
We stopped at this little rest area on the Skeena River. The pic below is looking back up the river. It is amazing to see the trees that cover these steep-sided mountains. Occasionally you can see where a rock slide has cut a swath and more are growing back in.

Although overcast, this drive is gorgeous!

The RV park, where we stayed, is only about 5 minutes from the Ferry Terminal. We are actually on an island in the ocean. But it wasn’t obvious when we drove here. Our only 2 options for the ferry ride to Ketchikan were 6:30pm and 7:15am. We wanted to see the scenery so we chose the morning departure. As the clerk was handing us our tickets she said, “You need to have your truck in line by 4:15am.” She said it with a straight face too! She cut us some slack when we asked, “really?”, and told us “no later than 5am”.

Animals – wild and not-so-wild

We finally got to go to the Alaska Wildlife Conservancy Center today! This is an Alaska Brown Bear. Brown bears are the same species as grizzlies. She has been trained to entertain visitors and will never be released into the wild. She was orphaned as an infant cub. So she was never able to learn how to be wild from her mom.

These are Musk Oxen. I remember trying to sleep in my curlers too!

There were 4 little moose calves that were rescued from various places. They will be able to be released into the wild after they grow up a little more.

These Dall Sheep were up above the highway.

Goin’ on a Bear Hunt!

I have to laugh when I think about “Goin‘ on a bear hunt”. I remember the chant we sang in Campfire Girl’s while keeping time, in a walking rhythm, by slapping our hands on our lap:
Goin‘ on a bear hunt….comin‘ to a tree….can’t go over…can’t go under it…can’t go through it…gotta go around it…(slapping changes slightly) Goin‘ on a bear hunt…comin‘ to a stream…can’t go over it…can’t go under it…can’t go around it…gotta go through it…(slapping gets sloppy here) …and so on

Anyway – apparently our navigation skills are not any better walking than they are driving! We set out, twice, to go to the Falls. I’ll spare you the details. I don’t know what Alaskans do to keep in shape during the winter. But if they aren’t in shape by the end of the summer, they haven’t FISHED! Hiking is INTENTIONALLY walking/climbing a long way. I didn’t realize we’d have to walk/climb so much, here at the Russian River Campground, just to FISH! A fisherman along the path (on our first attempt to find the Falls) said there are a couple bears by the river in the direction we were heading. He said, ‘Your little bell will tell them right where you are.’ As long as he doesn’t think it’s the ‘dinner bell’, we’ll be okay! Don’s got the bear pepper spray, the video camera, cell phone and walking stick. I’m wearing the bell, and have the bottle of water, snacks and camera. I thought about leaving a ‘flight plan’ in case we didn’t return – hahaha.

There ain’t no stinkin‘ bears out here!
Can you see what he almost stepped in (above)?

Well, at least there aren’t any BIG bears:

But, seriously, look at the size of that poop! That’s Don’s foot, not mine! …men’s size 12… wide. At least there aren’t any bells in it and it doesn’t smell like pepper! The disconcerting part of finding this…we found it after we had turned around when we realized we weren’t on the right trail. We either walked right past it the first time, or the bears were following the dinner bell. Well, it wasn’t steaming…so, maybe it was older? For such big animals, they can be really quiet.
Okay, not one bear today. We were looking too hard in all the wrong places because we heard lots of reports. Here’s a picture of a little red-headed grebe family. Aren’t they cute! See how the one out in front has his eyes under water to look for food.
Looks like the grebe family has found a place to roost for the night. Seems a little precarious to me…glad I’m not a duck!

Deep Creek, AK

We left Homer this afternoon since we got our fill of pollock. Stopped in at Anchor Point to see how the fishing is and how our eagles are doing (see below). There were fishermen at Anchor Point – seemed to be fishing for trout. We didn’t see a lot happening. We went back to Deep Creek to camp on the inlet – see how close we are at high tide! Overcast with scattered rain. There are still pinks in the creek but the silvers have not shown up here yet.

The young eagles are getting stronger. You can see one sitting on the edge of the nest. The parent is sitting on the bare branch to the left of the nest. They fledge sometime in August.