Sitka, Alaska

Our next stop was the small town of Sitka. Our large ship could not dock there so we anchored and took a tender to the shore. We walked a few blocks to Sitka National Historic Park. Here we learned about the Tlingit, Haida and other native people who lived here. They chose this area because the warm Japanese current kept the harbor ice fee year round. These people only harvested what they needed. They fished, hunted and gathered. We walked the two mile totem trail through the temperate rain forest. We learned about the different meanings of the carved figures.

Around 1741 Russian hunters and traders made there way here. Tlingits and Russians met, fought and uneasily coexisted for a time. The Russians were never self sufficient, but over hunted the sea otters for their pelts. We visited the Russian Bishops house. Russian orthodox missionaries built schools for the Tlingits and became the go between for the Russians and the Tlingits. They were not friends but they lived side by side. When America offered to buy Alaska in 1867, Russia accepted and Sitka became the territorial capital.

While we were here Marcus and Caroline completed the Junior Ranger Program and we watched a film on the area. We were able to touch a sea otter pelt, which we learned can have 1 million hairs per square inch.

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