Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hiking & Fishing

Two of the things I have always loved to do, and there is nowhere else that compares to SE Alaska!

We hiked in to a lake that my dad named after my niece Ashley to do some trout fishing. My dad had told me that this lake is usually so full of Cutthroat trout that they become cannibalistic due to the competition for food. Well, I think the one Andrew caught was one of the 'winners'. It was the only one we caught! This lake had little sign of anything swimming thing in it. Even the beaver who made the lake was no where to be found!

This lake is one that is within a mile of the home I lived in when I was around Andrew's age. My sister and I used to walk to it regularly to catch newts. Once, when we were little we caught a bucket full of them, then went door to door attempting to sell them as pets!

Wildlife viewing is such a phenomenal part of the Alaska experience! After being away for so long, Brenda and I now both realize how much we took it for granted when we lived here.

This is one of my favorite eagle pictures. This dude is carrying a salmon that probably weighs around 5-7 pounds. We didn't see him catch it, but he probably launched down out of a tree, swooped down to the water, snatched it, and flew back to the beach, all in a seamless and fluid fashion. We saw this happen a few times, and it never ceases to impress! This guy was on a rocky beach snacking on this fish as we rode by in our boat. When we stopped, the eagle flew away, then flew back toward us, and 'click', I captured the memory!

The day we leave Alaska, August 1, deer hunting season opens. Lucky for this little lady's kind that I won't be here! :)

Captain Andrew!

Captain Abigail!

Andrew and Abigail with one of the many mud sharks that we caught in our fishing adventures! Unfortunately for us, we did not catch much else to brag about.

Rain Gauge

It rains a bit in Ketchikan! I uploaded this one at a higher resolution, so you can see it in a readable size if you click on it. Having discovered that blogger automatically formats embedded pics, I think I'll do this more often.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

One Week

Here is a view of the harbor where my family kept their boats. My grandpa was a commercial fisherman. Working with him was the first job I had. I went to work with him when I was 11 for 2 weeks, then at 12 and 13, I worked all summer. He retired after that, but probably could have gone for a while longer. A normal work day lasted up to 16 hours!

My people are really artistically talented. I guess I shouldn't assume that anyone knows what that means. My dad is an Alaskan Native of the Tlingit tribe, feel free to become educated here, here, and here.

An interesting fact that I have not had opportunity to share with many is the origin of my name, Ketah. The name is an anglicized (the white man just could not leave it alone!) version of the Tlingit word for killer whale, 'Keet'.

We have had a great time so far. I can't believe that we have already been here a week! Brenda and the kids have had lots of fun, as have I. We have visited nearly everybody we have intended to. It has been great to catch up with old friends and family. We are going to go fishing later this week, and today we will either go out on a boat ride, or to the 'Totem Heritage Center'.

I made some reservations yesterday for places we will be on our road trip. I found out that we will be in South Dakota during the big biker rally in Sturgis. It looks like there will be over a half-million bikers in the area at that time!

Monday, July 23, 2007


I just spent a whole lot more time than I should have reading and writing online on something that is not sabbatical-ish, so I'm not going to be able to put much time into a post here today.

We had a nice family picnic at this manmade salt lagoon.

Then we went to a place where we watched these guys:

And the day ended in unparalleled natural beauty.

Friday, July 20, 2007

First Full Day

Alaska is awesome! Literally. Our first full day here was phenomenal. The weather was great with barely a cloud in the sky. The ocean air was crisp, and the winds were only a slight breeze. It is kind of strange, but we have not taken a family photo in quite some time. It is appropriate that we would take one at 'home'.

There is a state park near where we are staying called "Totem Bight". We walked around there and looked at all of the totems. This is the type of structure that my ancestors held special celebrations in. There is a significant depth to the customs of my people, you can read a little about these celebrations here and here.

There are eagles everywhere in southeast Alaska! When our plane landed, we even had to wait a moment on the runway before we could taxi to the terminal because there were two eagles that wouldn't move.

Andrew and Abigail are loving the beach adventures! Andrew has been overturning rocks looking for little 'crabbies' to catch.

Abigail didn't wait long before she went swimming in the ocean.

This place is so beautiful, I may live in other places, but my heart will always belong to southeast Alaska.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

An Early Morning

We started out on Tuesday morning at 4 am! Our friend Sarah (who we stayed with overnight in Redmond), gave us a ride to the Sea-Tac airport, and drove our van back to park while we are gone.

We had plenty of time, so we hung out in the food court/observation area until it was time to go to our gate.

We had a great flight, and the kids enjoyed their first time flying. In Abigail's true form, she said the funniest thing as we were about to taxi, "We are going to blast off now!"

More to come...

Sunday, July 15, 2007


In a little over 48 hours, we will be in our hometown of Ketchikan, Alaska. I have missed it. Brenda and I have not been there in 15 years. I'm looking forward to it a lot! One thing I'm not looking forward to is the rain! This came from the Wikipedia entry on Ketchikan:

The town was certified in 2005 as the fourth wettest spot on earth, with nearly 200 inches (5100 mm) of rain (the general range is 130-170 inches/3300-4300 mm)

It rains all the time there. If you are from the Portland area, you can try to imagine it by quadrupling the rainfall in the Portland area!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

New Blog!

I should have started this one a long time ago!

I and my family go on a fair amount of adventures, and they really ought to be chronicled somewhere. Why not a blog?

Well, alrighty then, we will do that!

We are about to embark on an epic adventure (at least in the realm of family vacations). In approximately 2 hours, I will be off of work for 74 days! Yes, my sabbatical has come! I have 10 weeks off of work! Woohoo!

We will be traveling to Alaska to our hometown of Ketchikan over the next two weeks. After that, we will come back to PDX for 3 days, then leaving on a tour O' America that will cover nearly 8000 miles on the road!

I'm hoping to do a good job of capturing the stuff we do! I have a laptop, and a sweet digital SLR camera, an awesome team (Brenda, Andrew, and Abigail), and no hesitance on spending whatever is necessary to do it right!

Check it regulary, I'm going to try to have something up as often as possible!