Petersburg, Alaska
July 1, 2010 - July 12, 2010

2 July 2010


Back at the airport again ready to begin the next leg of my trip. The jet leaves at 6:55 a.m. and hops a couple islands before landing in Petersburg. Once again the tops of the mountains were breaking through the clouds. At one point there was a mountain with a basin in the middle of it and clouds had settled into the basin. I wished my camera could have worked through the airplane window but I knew it wouldn't and took a mental picture to try to remember it.

The flight to Ketchikan was 2 hours. As we approached the airport I saw how small the landing strip was. I am used to big city airports that have landing strips that go on forever this landing strip was very, very small. The airplane was a full sized jet and I was surprised with how quickly they had to bring the airplane to a stop. I'll admit, even as a seasoned traveler, I grabbed on and held tight as the plane quickly came to a stop.

Petersburg airport

They pulled the stairs up to the airplane and some people got off while others got on. It felt very much like a bus going from stop to stop. 30 minutes later we took off again to land on Wrangell island. The clouds were beginning to spread out a little bit so I could see some of the mountains. Once again we landed on a very small landing strip and once again I grabbed my armrests with some tension. This was another 30 minute stop and we were up in the air again on our way to my final destination in Petersburg.

The flight between Wrangell and Petersburg was very short and we never got up above the clouds so I had a great view of the mountains from very close up as the plane weaved in between them to get to the airport. I had to admire the pilots as they quickly banked and weaved that large plane through the mountains. At one point my seat mate, who I had a nice conversation with during the flight, told me not to look out the other window, of course I did and the ground looked like it was only 50 yards away as we made the final bank to get to the airport. I swear this landing strip was the shortest of all. It's like you see in a cartoon where the front of a car actually goes down and the rear comes up because they stop so fast...that's what these landings felt like.

The Petersburg airport was very small but very busy. I saw my friend waiting for me and we walked out to the truck to drop off my carryon bags. I went back inside to wait for my suitcase. As I was waiting I was listening to a conversation that was going on next to me. An older gentleman was chatting with a woman.

She asked him "Who are you here to pick up?"
His reply, "No one, I just wanted to see who came in."

This was my first hint that Petersburg was a small town.

I grabbed my bag and went out and hopped into the truck. We drove around looking at the mountains around us. It was totally overcast and until we had a sunny day a few days later I didn't know how amazing the mountains really were. We got out at Eagles Roost Park

Eagles Roost Park

and I got my first view of a bald eagle.

Click to enlarge

Images from Eagles Roost Park
Click images to enlarge
Driftwood on the beach
View of the mountains

I walked down to the beach and got a picture of the mountains and some driftwood on the beach.

As we were driving to the house to drop off my stuff I asked if we would see any deer. My friend guaranteed me that we would see deer before we got to the house. It didn't take long for that prediction to come true.

The Sitka Black Tail Deer
Click on the thumnails to enlarge
Sitka Black Tail Doe   Sitka Black tail deer  

The pictures of the male were taken a few days later.

As I'm leaning out of the car window to take a picture of the fawn I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. One of the males had come over to sniff my elbow. I jumped like it was a bear. Hey, I don't know if he was thinking my t-shirt looked like a good snack!

After we dropped off my stuff we went out to Blind River Rapids. There was a nice planked walkway that lead us over the muskeg to the river. The first thing we noticed was what looked like a tree stump in the grass about a half mile away from us. I watched it for a while as we tried to decide if it was a bear or a stump when it looked up at us.

The picture is blurry because I had the camera at extreme range and I was holding it in my hands but you can definitely see the three bears. The two on the right side walked into the grass and the big one followed soon after. I didn't end up seeing any more bears on my trip but I was excited that I had seen them, and didn't get eaten.

We ended up the day by meeting some friends and having dinner at the Beachcomber Inn restaurant. It was a nice way to end the day.