Last week, I took the Alaska Marine Highway to Sitka with my friend Irene, her daughter Marisa and her grandson A'eden. Marisa and A'edan were visiting Irene from El Paso, Texas. Irene has been here since August, serving as a Jesuit Volunteer.
|The view from the ferry observation lounge - it was a gorgeous day!|
|A'edan is a very cute four year old. Here he is talking to Irene.|
|Coming into Sitka Sound|
We visited the Raptor Center, where they care for injured and sick birds of prey. We saw bald eagles, golden eagles, owls, hawks, and ravens.
We took a short hike in the woods - I talked a lot to keep the bears away.
Irene, showing that she's not afraid of bears!
We saw a wide variety of plants.
This little guy had a broken wing and hung out in the office. He was so tiny!
There was an indoor rehabilitation center. This snowy owl was learning to fly again.
We also visited the Fortress of the Bears - a place that was put together by volunteers to house orphaned brown bears. Their mothers were shot after venturing too close to town. Rather than put down the cubs, they were saved and brought here to live. I have mixed feelings - but apparently they can't be rehabilitated to live in the wild.
The bears looked healthy and were playful. It hurt my heart to see them enclosed, but I suppose it is better than putting them down...
We went to Castle Hill in downtown Sitka - the remains of the old Russian fortress, and site of the raising of the first American Flag after the transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States.
Irene, Marisa and A'edan pose on Castle Hill with St. Michael's Cathedral in the background.
Mt. Edgecumbe looks just like Mt. Fuji in Japan, and it is a dormant (not extinct!) volcano. One April Fools' Day, some local pranksters dropped tires, rags and gasoline into the cone from a helicopter, ignited it and watched the town panic, thinking it was erupting. They were heavily fined, but I think they thought it was worth it!
Sitka is a beautiful little town!
A'edan posing on a cannon
Waiting for the ferry home.
We had a tired little boy on the trip home!
We took the fast ferry home - it only took four hours on the Fairweather as opposed to nine on the Columbia - I like the Columbia better - it is larger, and more comfy and it is such a pretty trip!
We had a wonderful time in Sitka - we stayed with our friends Ron and Kathy and their little girl Ceci. A good time was had by all!