Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Alaska Day 1, Part 1 - Anchorage and Native Heritage Museum

The flight was uneventful, if long, and upon landing in Anchorage, I claimed my cute little Kia Soul and headed for my hotel, the Clarion Suites in downtown.  A short walk of just a few blocks brought me to Humpy's for dinner:  a slab of red salmon washed down with a craft berry wheat beer.

Then I returned to my room and got serious about planning out the next couple of days...easy days without too much physical activity to preserve my energy and my legs for the half marathon on Saturday. 

Representative photos are posted here.  Go to my photo album to see all of the photos taken this day.


I woke up early - too early - on Wednesday morning and could not get back to sleep!  Even though I stayed up until 11:00 PM (2 AM Houston time) my body was convinced that 4:30 AM was really 7:30 AM and wasn't having any more of that pillow time.  So no sense arguing. 

The first thing I did was walk down 4th Street to find the Trolley Tours.  If I passed a Starbucks along the way, great.  If not, I'd find it afterward.   I timed it perfectly and pretty much stepped onto the trolley and we were off for an hour tour of the city.  The guide was quite knowledgeable of the city, a lifelong resident and former high school band director.  The most interesting thing on the tour was the visit to Earthquake Park and hearing the guide's first-hand description of what it was like to be there in 1964 when the 9.4 earthquake struck.  It was off the then-Richter scale which, at that time, only went up to 8, and resulted in the scale being revised.

Trolley tour complete, I did find that Starbuck's and a chocolate croissant and enjoyed them both as I walked back to the hotel to get the car.  My plans for the rest of the day include visiting the Native Heritage Museum here in Anchorage, stopping at the nearby Target to pick up some groceries, and then  continuing to Palmer AK to visit a musk ox farm and a reindeer farm.


The Native Heritage Museum sits on the northeastern edge of the city, on Alaska 1, the Glenn Highway.  The visitor center is beautiful and I was greeted by two lovely young ladies, native Alaskans and no doubt high-school aged summer volunteers.  As I paid my admission, I could hear native song and dance going on in the Center's Gathering Place, a beautiful sun-lit expanse of a room with high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows overlooking Lake Tiulana and the re-enacted village.

The music and dance presentation was lovely.  The narration between the dances was very informative and interesting.  Their last story, enacted in dance, was the legend of a boy who went out hunting for seal but instead was entranced by the seal's cavorting and playfulness.  The story was "The Playful Seal" and was sung in native language and using native drums as their only accompaniment. 

At the end of the performance, one of the staff told us about a smartphone app that we could download and then use as a narrated guide while taking the walking tour around the lake to see the different re-enacted village sites. 

The different villages demonstrated the varied dwelling styles of the different regions of Alaska.  I walked the circle around the lake and peeked into the various village sites.

Entrance to a dwelling - portal cut from a single tree.
Note the base of the entrance.

Tunnel access to an underground dwelling. 
Yes, I crawled in through this tunnel!

Room interior.  Note tunnel entrance on
lower right of photo.

I've seen it all and it's now time to move on to the rest of the day's plan.  But before I get on the highway to head east to Palmer, there's a Target store nearby and I'll stop there and pick up some basics to have in the room - cereal, bananas, granola bars, Gatorade. 

Next stop:  A musk ox farm and a reindeer farm and some pretty scenery along the way.

1 comment:

  1. Hooray you made it to Alaska. It looks like a great start to the trip. A nice museum and sunshine too.