I have decided that libraries in cities of the Alaskan southeast have the finest views of any libraries in the world, hands down. Here is the view looking out the window I am sitting next to in the Sitka public library while bogarting the free public wi-fi. We arrived yesterday morning at 6 am after a 24 hour trip from Ketchikan with stops in Wrangell, Petersburg and Kake. It rained heavily the entire way, so no pictures. Hopefully I will be able to get some on our way to Juneau in a few days. This ride was not as plush as the last. I made a comment about the Columbia’s age (the ferry we took to Ketchikan), but now I realize it is a relative spring chicken. This time around we were on the Taku which was christened in 1964, 3 years after I was born. It is a much smaller vessel compared to the Columbia and does not have the nice restaurant-like dining facility and its appointments bespeak its age. This is not to complain, the food was still good, though presented in a cafeteria style and the accommodations are fine. We did not get a cabin this time. Being a smaller ship the cabins were already taken when we booked, so we slept on the floor in one of the aft lounge areas with about a dozen others. A true Alaska Marine Ferry experience. We brought our sleeping bags and pads up from the car and slept great.
We drove around Sitka after arriving to get an idea of the best place to camp. We drove all the way out to a remote free camp ground down a dirt road on the south side of town. The scenery was tremendous, but it was too remote for us. Two other campgrounds were of the sterile variety that (I cannot understand why) RV’ers end up gravitating toward, so we picked the USFS campground on the north side of town called Starrivigan. We ended up in what I believe is the best site in the place and if you go request it, site 16. It’s great on several levels, but the highlight is it has a large covered picnic table to keep you out of the always present Sitka rain showers. Also, it is just across the way from a bear proof food box, and just down a path from the bathrooms. This site costs an extra $2.00 a night and I believe it is well worth it, especially if you are in a tent. Over the past several months there has been an adolescent brown bear haunting the campground on a regular basis so we are alert, but he has not bothered anybody, though doesn’t seem bothered by anyone either.
We woke up late today and ran around taking care of some loose ends regarding our stay. For one we have decided to forego the extra day we were going to spend in Juneau and add a couple of others and stay here until the 16th, which is 6 days total. We want to explore the city and just don’t believe we will find a better place to camp anywhere else. I’ll write more tomorrow about our meanderings today with pictures from the Sitka Historical Park totem poles.