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North to Alaska - Full Version - Day 51 (July 6)

Tuesday - Following disembarkation at 7:30 AM, we went to Tonka View RV Park. Unfortunately, it was run down and not very clean so we decided to look elsewhere. We turned down Eagles' Roost Park (very few facilities), Twin Creeks (filthy) and went to the visitor center for information. We were directed to Le Conte RV Park, near town, which catered to permanent residents. They had 3 unoccupied sites and, though the other trailers were rather dilapidated, the rest rooms were OK (and they had cable TV). We dutifully explored the downtown shops and dropped into the Clausen Memorial Museum where we watched a historical film about the beginnings of "Little Norway," a small fishing village until, in 1897, Peter Buschmann arranged to have a cannery built here on Mitkof Island. The Tlingits had been fishing in the area for over 2000 years and the proximity to Le Conte Glacier (with its endless supply of ice) made an ideal location. The town is a fascinating blend of 3000 people; Norwegians (who descended from Peter Buschmann's original settlers), Tlingits (who were here first) and Chinese (early cannery laborers); all on a 211 square mile island, most of which is muskeg bogs and steep, heavily timbered mountains. As we wandered along the picturesque waterfront we came upon the barn-shaped Sons of Norway Hall, perched on waterfront pilings, and were invited in (while blending with a tour group) to watch the Leikaaring Dancers, a dozen costumed young people, perform traditional Norwegian dances. Just outside was a replica of a large Viking ship and the Bojer-Wikan Fisherman's Memorial Park, dedicated to those who lost their lives at sea.

There were weathered, wooden buildings teetering on stilts in Hammer Slough, and false-front shops in Sing Lee Alley. We went back to the museum so Margaret could avail herself of 2 pairs of silver earrings she had coveted earlier, and walked to camp. After dinner (a cubed pork chop-onion-mushroom thingy in gravy with mixed vegetables and salad) we watched TV which included 1 Seattle station, 1 Chicago station and the rest Canadian (some French -speaking), and to bed.