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Blind River Rapids

The wide, rocky, shallow rapids lies at the end of a long estuary far from the green waters of the Wrangell Narrows.  The wandering channel traversing the wide mud-flats there.  Above the rapids lie the long still black pools of the Blind  River. The Swan Observatory allows  for the viewing...

When Visitors Come to a Remote Alaskan Island

Imagine, if you will, a California beach boy.  His wavy blond hair back lit by the summer sun.  (Well, actually May doesn’t count as summer as our story begins in Southeast Alaska. The seasonal cannery workers may have arrived but the sun still lies low on the Southern horizon.)  His...

Where Houses are Built on Pilings Instead of Foundation - Ensuring Your Home Does NOT SINK

“What?” Her husband asked incredulously. “No, no.” she exclaimed. “We don’t have foundations here.  Houses are built on creosote piling like the docks.”  That too got a “What?”  Her husband was a “Coastie” from down south.  She marveled at the wooden archway between the carpeted living room and dining room...

35 Years and Still in Petersburg, AK - Why it's Worth Staying

I can still recall the surprising good things I discovered about living  in a small town in Southeast Alaska. “You don’t have to use your turn signal, cause everyone knows where you are going anyway.”  Twice, when I first moved here and no one knew me, I lost my check...

On the Way to Work: Part III

On winter mornings when the sun slumbers still and drifting snow hides all the muskeg holes and snowmobile tracks, maybe you should take the bicycle path to work. On the darkest part of the year, particularly if it is a Monday (garbage day) you step to the back porch and...

On the Way to Work: Part II

Five friends made that trip across the muskegs with me, have rent the veil of alder leaving behind the known and sown town for the wet and wild muskeg.  When first initiated into the mystery of the muskeg walk I took the precaution, similar to Theseus of marking my way....

On the Way to Work: Part I

"With me along the strip of Herbage strown, That just divides the desert from the sown. (The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam)" You leave the house, walk the gravel road to a friend’s house, push aside the alder branches in her backyard that veil the creek.  You step through the high...

The Story of "Our Pilot"

"Back in the day Petersburg, AK needed five floatplane firms and a couple of helicopter companies." Our pilot ate a lot of rabbit food at lunch. Our pilot was always charming. Our pilot was part of our “Mosquito Fleet”. He flew his floatplane close to the water of the bays, channels, straits...