‘Juneau’ Category


Raven and Eagle

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – “Gajaa, gajaa,” said Raven. He was flying over the ocean during The Great Flood looking for a safe place to land. After a while he spotted a small island. So goes the Tlingit story of the beginning of the earth. Many Tlingit stories and legends parallel the Bible, portraying Raven as the possessor of great spiritual powers, sometimes as the Creator, sometimes as the Trickster. Grandson Sam and I are standing at the corner of Willoughby and Village Street in Juneau, reading the sign posted in front of the now fading wall mural designed by Tommy Jimmie Sr and painted by Ed Kunz Sr and Ed Kunz Jr in the late 1970’s. The two figures at the top, Raven and Eagle, represent the two halves of the Auke Tribe. Raven has a cloud in his mouth representing the heavens; Eagle is lifting a dying man to the heavens. Sea otters, spirits and faces are guiding the man to the other side. “Gajaa” means the man is wished a safe place to land. A big black raven is perched on the fence post beside us; we’ve noticed them flying around our hotel and following us everywhere we walk. Is Raven guiding us? Or is it just a pesky bird? » read more


To The Max

Linda Burton and grandson Samuel Shumate, age 9, posting from Juneau, Alaska – “Reporting live from Juneau, Alaska,” is the sound I hear coming from just outside the door. It’s grandson Sam, now a Steven Spielberg wannabe. Yesterday I showed him the Nikon’s video capabilities; today he’s into Point of View, recording everything in sight “as he sees it.” Right now he’s filming Mt Juneau, the front of our building, and every raven flying overhead. I decide we’ll use this force for good today. “Hey Sam,” I call enthusiastically, “let’s go downtown and find the capitol. You can make a video.” And so, enthusiastically, we start walking. Seven blocks or so, along the waterfront and up the hill; thumbs up at last; we made it to the door. The Tour Sign at the front invites us in; an arrow points us to the information spot; a young man greets us with a friendly smile. “The next tour in 10 minutes,” he said. Enough time for some post-hillclimb rest; then here is Max, his bright red vest sporting the Tour Guide badge. “We’ll begin in the lobby,” he said. “I’ll start with the basics.” The crowd gathered; Sam’s finger was poised on the video button. » read more


The ABC’s of Juneau

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – “I’ll bet that was an avalanche,” I said to Sam. We’re peering out the window; our first glimpse of Mt Juneau in the Monday morning daylight. It’s straight-up steep and just a few blocks away; a guarding wall. Patches of snow dot the area near the top; dark green conifers cover most of the mountain; but the tell-tale bright green looks suspiciously new. A few questions throughout the day verified my assumption. Avalanches are a way of life in Juneau, along with bears, and cruise ships. “Don’t carry food around on your person,” we were advised. Bears wander the neighborhood streets, most often during evening hours on a food-scavenging prowl. Residents know to make noise when they’re outside; locked garbage cans are a requirement. And the town schedule pretty much revolves around the schedule of the cruise ships, which bring about 10,000 people into town every day during summer months. » read more


North By Alaska

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – Heading for Alaska? Your first thought is likely Alaska Airlines, you know, the one with the Native Alaskan painted on the tail. Distinctive. Grandson Sam and I are headed for Alaska, specifically the capital city of Juneau, where there are no roads in and no roads out. Get there by cruise ship, get there by ferry, or get there by plane. Since we are “on a mission” we chose the fastest method. Seattle was a mass of road closures today; bridges blocked for repair; ramps getting reramped; and a Mariner’s baseball game at Safeco Field to boot. Being a woman of caution, I suggested a four-hour window of safety since we had to pass through the entire north-to-south mess. Turns out of course, it didn’t take long to get there and check in; we made our gate with two hours to spare; time for dinner, time to buy books and snacks, time to relax and read and chill. At 15 minutes to boarding, a wisp of a memory surfaced; the admonition given when I checked my bag –“Pay attention to your gate, it may change.” There were no people crowding around, I realized with a somewhat sinking feeling. At the counter, I got the news, “Juneau departs from D3.” We were at C16, as specified on our ticket. Panic! » read more