How it Started

When I was 12, I found a blank ledger book. It was a treasure beyond treasure to me. I debated and debated about what to do with it - it had to be something special. Finally I decided to make a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see in my life and then cross them off when I had accomplished them. At first they were simple things, but soon I was adding dramatic things, impossible things, but things still worth dreaming about. Oddly enough, putting them on the list somehow made them attainable. I have kept the book and updated the list my entire life. Here is the story behind some of the entries - successes and failures, embarrassing and proud moments, laughter and tears - the ridiculous to the sublime!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Visit Sitka Alaska Raptor Center - DID IT

Sitka, Alaska, is a tiny town on Baranof Island in the area known as Southeast Alaska.  It has one stoplight and four stop signs scattered along its 14 miles of road, that's probably counting the main road, all of the side streets, the driveways, and maybe the airport runway! It's small.  The local newspaper prints the cruise ship schedule so locals can avoid town during the crush of visitors swarming the streets. Here you can see a cruise ship trying to sneak into town!

If you follow the one and only road out of town, you end up at the Raptor Center.  A  rehab facility for injured birds of prey.  Their most impressive patients are the eagles, of course, but they have an amazing array of owls and hawks as well. The birds there for rehab are generally kept a distance from visitors so they don't acclimate to humans, but a few residents will never fly again and are permanent goodwill ambassadors to the adoring public.  This is by far the most popular tour for the cruise ship passengers.

If you venture to the end of the road, you'll find the Totem Park, a tiny National Park filled with incredible, native-carved totem poles. It's such a unique setting to wander through the dense forest, turn a corner and be face to face with a huge totem nestled among the towering trees.  In the visitor's center you can watch local natives carving masks and other native crafts.

There's bear.  There is a bear alert system in town.  When the alarms ring, kids outdoors dash for the nearest house - any house, then they call home to tell their parents where they are, and they are safely harbored inside the house until the bear wanders back into the woods.  I mentioned it's a small town, right?  And there's fish - really, really big fish.  The boys went out for a couple hours and reeled these in.

While Sitka is a fun 3-hour stop on your cruise, it's so much more interesting if you hang around awhile.  I spent a lot of time on layovers there when I flew for Alaska Airlines and my cousin lived there for about 15 years.

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