Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First stop: Icy Strait Point

Today we ordered room service for 7am but when it came, the kids were not quite ready to get up but they did anyway.  They each had a bowl of rice krispies and some juice and about 8:30am, we went to the Island Cafe for a second helping of breakfast before they went to the Fun Factory on Deck 4.  These are scheduled and supervised activities for different age groups of children.  Sahana and Izzy were in the group where they could be together so that was good.  While they were there, a mascot came to visit and of course if there is one thing that Hana does NOT like, it's mascots.  She got an instant headache and had to lie down for  a bit so that by the time I picked them up, she was relieved. 

We had lunch and they went back to the cabin to watch a part of a movie and by that time, we arrived in Icy Strait Point.  The harbour is not deep enough so the ship had to anchor away from shore and we had to be tendered by several of the ship's lifeboats to the shore.  It was raining quite heavily and I despaired that we would get so wet and cold, that we would not have a good time but as if someone was looking over us, as soon as we went down to board the tender, the rain stopped and the sun shone brightly.  It was glorious after all!  We walked off the tender and walked around the cannery (now a tourist attraction) and checked out some of the displays and museum pieces.  Izzy was so busy clicking her camera prior to getting here, that her batteries were low - that is - her third set of batteries! 

Here is a bit about Icy Strait Point taken from their website:  

Icy Strait Point, owned by Huna Totem Corporation, is located 35 miles west of Juneau in Hoonah, Alaska. The Tlingit people settled Hoonah two thousand years ago when they were forced to abandon their original village because of advancing glaciers. Translated, it means, “Where the north wind doesn’t blow”.

The Tlingit – always respectful of their environment -- lived a subsistence life, surviving off the bountiful waters and lush forest. Many also became very accomplished as weavers, carvers and artists -- developing the unique stylized designs you see throughout Tlingit communities today. Fur traders arrived on Hoonah shores in the 1880’s. Schools, churches, and stores were soon to follow. 

In 1912, the Hoonah Packing Company built the first cannery in the area. Ownership traded hands several times before the Icy Strait Salmon Company purchased the property in 1932. When a fire destroyed the town on June 14, 1944, many residents made the cannery their home while the city was rebuilt. In the mid 1990’s the Huna Totem Corporation bought the cannery and created what you see today. Currently 85% of the staff at ISP are local Tlingit from Hoonah.

Tender to take us to shore

Waiting to get off the ship

Sitting by the warm toasty fire in Hoonah
  We walked around on the outside of the cannery and watched the zipliners taking a Zipride.  Then we walked all of the nature trail (on the left hand side of the map).  We found amazing vegetation - different shades of mushrooms - yellow, orange, red, purple - and some the size of a huge sunflower.  The kids loved it and every few steps, they reminded me to take a picture.  Needless to say, I have dozens of pictures of mushrooms!  The nature walk though was amazing.  It was a rain forest in a temperate climate.  There were the tallest sitka pines that formed a natural umbrella and shelter for the dozens of kinds of ferns and mushrooms that we saw.

Devil's claw is used by Native Americans to make salves and ointments which the store in Hoona was selling.  But once the plant is finished flowering, it is quite toxic and can cause a great deal of grief if you happen to get caught in it.  The undersides of the leaves have tiny little claws that hook up and have toxins in them.  A plant that is healing and toxic.  Imagine that. Kind of like rhubarb or castor oil. (more on my castor oil treatment for my foot later).

Purple mushroom
Yellow mushroom
Red mushroom
Orange mushroom
Icy Strait
Beautiful totem pole

All together, Icy Strait was a beautiful first stop to enjoy walk in a temperate rainforest.


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