Monday, May 30, 2011

Sitka National Historic Park, Alaska

It was raining when I spent a whole day exploring Sitka National Historical Park.  As the park is located at sea level, it was a bit greener than the mountain trail I hiked the day before.  When it's wet, the green is brighter than ever.  It was still early spring; the red alder trees were still naked without leaves. 
Walking in the rainforest, I often hear the raven's song echoing from somewhere deep in the woods.  Weathered totem poles stood along the trail, which perfectly blended in the old growth woods. Walking in this rainforest was a spiritual... it somewhat reminds me of an old shrine in the deep forests in Japan.
The trail opened up to the coast.  Numerous small islands covered with trees are scattered around the Sitka Sounds... nobody around in this quiet little cove.

Sitka National Historic Park celebrated its 100th year anniversary in 2010.  It's the oldest National Park in Alaska.   Celebrating the Centennial Year, National Park Service commissioned the special totem pole with the master carver Tommy Joseph.  The totem pole represents Sitka and the surrounding area and the National Park Service.  It contains a buffalo (a symbol of the National Park Services), an old Russian marker plate, the native plants (skunk cabbage and devil's club), two salmons, and a spiritual woman's face.  Its light green and yellow colors are non-traditional for the totem pole.  The pole, almost finished, lays at the Park Visitor Center for the raising ceremony on May 15. Too bad I missed the pole raising by a week!

On my next posting, I'll write about  Michio Hoshino's totem pole, which is the memory of the famous Japanese photographer killed by a bear in 1996.