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Friday, August 14, 2009

Sitka Alaska

I find myself in Sitka, Alaska, again tonight....I've already been here one time this summer and have one more layover here later next week. Today, my entire crew ventured to the Alaska Raptor Center at my prompting. I don't quite think I was prepared for the fantastic afternoon we were going to have. I mean, this place is all volunteer run and operates on donations. They take in raptors from around the state of Alaska who have been injured, mostly with human interaction (car accidents, electrical lines, poisonings, shootings, etc.). They do emergency surgery on them here at the center and then decide if they are healthy enough to be sent back out into the wild or not. Some we saw today will be released soon....others will never been. Many of the electrical injuries have seared the raptors heads or eyes...it's quite sad. Many of their talons or wings have suffered injuries which renders them incapable of flying properly again. And then they brought in a beautiful female bald eagle named Sitka. She was something as she stared back at us, her pretty white head twitching back and forth, her piercing eyes looking at us much in the same way we were looking at her. I got giant tears in my eyes....staring at such a creature of beauty, injured but now safe. She was so pretty. We saw all sorts of hawks, falcons, kestrels, and owls....the grey owl was one of my favorites. Again, the eyes looking back at us......unsettling. We also caught sight of maybe six other bald eagles high atop the old growth forest trees as we walked around....their screeching drawing our eyes skyward until we could look no further up. And there they sat, WAY up there....just hanging out.

We also passed over a stream containing hundreds of pink and red salmon spawning......at the end of their lives. The thrashing about in the water, trying to get to a safe place to deposit their eggs before they die. It's been many many years since I've seen fish spawning.

And, the bears....yes.....they have had three bear sightings in town this week. One just yesterday at the Raptor Center. So, many trails are closed with signs about bear sightings. And the hotel van driver said he was required to tell us to not be out by ourselves.

All in a day's work.....beats sitting at a desk watching a clock, doesn't it?

Tomorrow morning, we fly from Sitka to Juneau, then to Anchorage, and then to Portland....and after four long days, I'll be greeted by the two giant loves of my life...Hubby and Pooch. And The Trinity will be complete again.

19 comments:

Blair said...

Ahhh, what a day. And to think we get paid for doing this! I am certain this is in your Top 10 layovers of all time! The videos and pictures are wonderful but don't do the experience any justice. Where's Art Wolfe when you need him?

See you tomorrow afternoon....I am thinking some Chinese food and British Comedies are in order with a long welcome home kiss at the beginning and some extreme cuddling at the end. I am sure the pooch will be right there between us the whole time.

A Lewis said...

Dear Lover Blair Bear Boy: I can hardly wait. And The Ambassador for Chinese and a cold beer isn't a bad idea before British Comedies....see you tomorrow. And I REALLY REALLY missed having you at the Raptor Center with me today....You would have absolutely loved it.

Princessa lil mexico said...

WOW so great!! I would of loved to see that. They have one of those in portland too. Chinese food is my favorite and i do love me some Brit Comedies. Sounds like a great night planned! When is dinner?

Ur-spo said...

one of my favorite memories is canoeing in Sitka; it was gently raining; the salmon were jumping all around us like popcorn. It was August, just like now.

wcs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wcs said...

Now, when you said "bear sightings..." Ah, yes, of course.

I've never been to Sitka, and you make it sound wonderful.

Breenlantern said...

Sitting at a desk watching the clock beats starving or being homeless.

See? There's a silver lining in everything.

Jim said...

I also would love to go there someday.

Enjoy your time there and also your return home.

Michael Rivers said...

Sounds like a great time! I want to visit there one day. Photos always look so beautiful.

Sylvia said...

What a great visit to Sitka! Does your interest in raptors stem from having a famous raptor center near your home town?

tornwordo said...

What a great activity. I would have gotten all teared up too.

TJ said...

Sounded like a fantastic day. I've never been to Alaska but I will make it one day before I die. All the pictures I've ever seen show me a place of great beauty and so unspoilt (unspoiled in American english, I've been in Australia too long)

Birdie said...

Anywhere on the Inside Passage, it's a postcard view wherever you turn. In Haines—eagle central, apparently—we counted 83 eagles during our short stay. We were there in late May, before the salmon run. (In August, there are literally thousands.) My sister told us to look for golf balls in the tops of the trees. Yup, that's how to find 'em.

When we hiked up Mt. Riley, we wore bells on our shoelaces to warn bears of our presence. We also had mace and a neighbor's dog. I am thankful we didn't need any of it.

I envy your ability to jump over for a visit. More pictures!

J.P. said...

Sounds like an amazing time. I hope to get to Alaska someday because I hear nothing but good things about life up there.

bridgeout said...

What a wonderful life of adventures and love you experience. :)

WAT said...

ALASKA! Yeah, I'll be going there sometime before the year 3067. That is so awesome that they got that place to rescue and help those poor birds. Animals are awesome.

cb said...

Seeing the rehabilitated ones would make me happy. Seeing the ones who will never fly again would make me cry.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!! I so want your job!
I so love Sitka....


MISS YOU!

Laurie

Rob Inukshuk said...

What a wonderful place, staffed with wonderful people doing wonderful things for...wonderful creatures!