Exploring Wrangell

Wrangell Travel Blog

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Bear up the Mountain Totem

We slept in this morning after no sleep the night before, and then had a leisurely breakfast.  This was the first morning we awoke to blue skies.  We decided to take in the history and culture of Wrangell this morning.  Our first stop was the James and Elsie Nolan Center which contains the city’s museum.  The museum was very well done and very informative about not only the history of Wrangell, but the culture of the native peoples, primarily the Tlingets. 

From there we drove to Shakes Island in the city which is home to a native clan house built in 1940.  There are also a number of original totems on the island.  We arrived at the time of a talk since there was a small, paddlewheel cruise ship in town for the day.  There were two parts to the talk.  The first part was given by a native who had worked with several others to build an authentic ocean-going canoe after the other canoes had been destroyed in a fire.  The canoe is housed in the clan house and was made from a single cedar tree.  The second part of the talk was given by a native who talked about the clan house and how it was used.

Sitting by the shore
  Both speakers were from the Tlinget tribe. 

On the way to Shakes Island we stopped at Totem Park where several original totems are standing.  It was here that I found the little tiny forget-me-not flowers, which is the state flower of Alaska. 

As we traveled we passed many different wild flowers blooming, white, orange, and purple.

Then it was back to the trailer for lunch.  After lunch we headed out to the eagle’s nest by the airport, to find that mom was hunkered down in the nest and there was nothing to see.

So, we decided that maybe we should hike up to Rainbow Falls.  The booklet said it was a walk to a viewing platform.  Well, it was a .6 mile hike up the side of the mountain, with much of it wooden steps, 516 to be exact.  Fred counted them.  We did make it and the falls was worth the climb.  After climbing back down, we got the makings for dinner and went back to the trailer to eat.  After dinner we checked out the two nests before settling in for the night.

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Bear up the Mountain Totem
Bear up the Mountain Totem
Below the waterfall
Below the waterfall
Sitting by the shore
Sitting by the shore
On Shakes Island
On Shakes Island
Forget-me-not
Forget-me-not
Fred at Rainbow Falls
Fred at Rainbow Falls
Clan House on Shakes Island
Clan House on Shakes Island
Eagle overhead
Eagle overhead
Inside the Clan House
Inside the Clan House
Indian artifacts
Indian artifacts
Pretty purple flowers
Pretty purple flowers
Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls
Looking south
Looking south
Totem
Totem
Totems in Totem Park
Totems in Totem Park
Totems on Shakes Island
Totems on Shakes Island
Wrangell
photo by: vances