Posted by: jsmcfadden | August 8, 2009

More Photos from Alaska — Totem Bight, Saxman Bight


The Tongass National Rain Forest is the setting; this photo was taken just outside the little gift shop & restroom areas near Totem Bight. Amazing greens wherever we looked made me grateful for the overcast sky. I think it would have hurt my eyes to have bright sun on these intense green leaves. So many shapes and kinds of leaves, so many small and large plants.


I’m not posting photos of totems, but if you want to see some, searching for them online will provide lots of samples.


Instead, here are some images that captured my eye. neartotembightforweb

We stopped here to look at a family of eagles in a small grove of trees to the right. Just on the other side of those rocks was a floating dock, and to the right of that a small, calm pool. The eagles’ grove of trees was reflected in that pool. But the rocks, the water, the trees, and the other island — my eye kept returning to those combinations.


At Saxman Bight, a carver was working on cleaning up a pole that was being restored. The tools and shavings here were just beside the pole part lying on its back on a stand in the workroom. Alan, our guide, told us that in the old days the paint mixture started with salmon roe chewed by the women of the tribe. Then the coloring agent would be mixed with this saliva/roe mixture. That paint lasted a hundred years. Lately, though, they’ve just bought paint at the hardware store and they’ve had to repaint quite often.


Here’s Alan telling some of our group all about the totem that has Abraham Lincoln carved at the top. He learned all these stories from his grandfather who would use the stories to discipline his mischievous grandson. When he’d misbehave, Grandfather would call him over and tell him a story about another young Tlingit or an animal who displayed the trait that Alan just had. Many of these stories are carved onto the poles we saw at Saxman.


John and I explored a pathway near the lodge house at Saxman. There were no sounds except a raven who was calling from the next grove over. Crunching gravel under our feet seemed amplified in the silence of the forest.






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