Saturday, September 24, 2011

native art and more denali...

have been wanting to get to the anchorage museum before the mammoths and mastodon exhibit is gone so today i spent some time there. embarrassed to say i haven't been since they remodeled and reopened. it's quite nice inside. i enjoyed the mastodon exhibit, but i think i liked the native arts center much better. now that makes me want to check out the native cultural center which is really just down the road from me here.
the museum has always had a nice gift store and they still do. i found these cute little seal gut basket which i decided would look lovely in my little window box.
natives used seal gut in many ways. baskets and waterproof jackets were common. obviously a tiny basket such as this wasn't not used, just decorative. fun for me. the little bits of fur are from a polar bear. the artist is from st lawrence island, the community of savoonga. her name is elaine kingekuk. anyway...i'm happy with my new purchase.

added a few more pictures from carla and my hike out savage creek and back.

you hike up one side, cross the bridge and then hike back the other side. the dogs aren't allowed on the trail. i did a few years back attempt this hike with the dogs. for some reason there were a ton of rabbits out there and blossom was leashed but trying to drag me every which way, rio had a tough time as there are little gaps that were put in the trail for drainage purposes. those gaps seemed super sized as the trail had just been redone at that time. i gave up pretty quickly that day. the rain was coming down in buckets too as i recall.

can't recall at this time where i was headed to or coming from. if i'm in the area i always just stop through the park for a quick look.

the colours were darker in this area, past the fall prime, but beautiful still. a bit cloudy as well, but we never really got rained on.

met some lovely new friends out here, always wonderful to meet new people, especially ones as excited about alaska as i am. shout out to my new york alaskan friends!

this is the little bridge you cross over. quite a pretty spot there for picture taking ops.

since i decided to go to the museum today i opted to just swing by the university lake dog park. these trees are in a parking lot right by there. i love the bright colour of these trees each fall and always have to stop by and soak up their beauty.

beautiful day out at the lake. fairly crowded. saturdays and sundays are always a bit more packed at the park. i was a bit before the 2pm crowd. saw some of the dogs favorite people showing up as we were leaving. the dogs know the people who have treats!

i think our trees are peaking right now. the wind was blowing a bit today, a blustery fall day...always a favorite of mine.

ran into a co-worker and her dog so we walked the loop together. this is blossom with her dog, teva.

leaves do mean yardwork and this afternoon i did jump in for a few hours of raking and prepping for winter. mowed the lawn, probably the last mow required til next june. yippee!!

back to the museum. liked how they set up the various species in the group. hadn't realized there were smallish proboscidea (order of mammals which includes elephants, mammoths and mastodons) pygmea's lived at one time on islands off what is now california. the channel islands i believe.

once saw a documentary show about this mammoth, called lyuba. this is of course, not the real thing. this baby mammoth was found completely preserved and intact. several scientists from various nations were able to work together and study her, of course, great care was made to preserve this amazing specimen. she was found in russia i believe.

hadn't realized the variety of molars that the various proboscidea have. cool looking molars, if i do say. it varied with the sorts of foods they ate.

my favorite was all the native crafts on display.

these designs are very typical of southeast alaska. the same groups that created my cool new paddle. great colours and cool designs.

more of the seal gut jackets.

they had a handmade kayak on display. i honed in on the little ivory detail holding the ropes.

another seal gut jacket.

this was in the creative arts area. guessing they are some sort of seal gut gloves en masse. made for a cool display though.

even the shadows were cool.

another section of the museum had more general alaskan history. also enjoyed that section. always love carved ivory. many of these sorts of things were made for sale by the natives during gold rush era.

being a dog person and enjoying watching a good sled dog race i had to snap a shot of this very cool and fancy dog harness/jacket. liked that they put a dog behind it to display how it looked live.

now we come to my most favorite...baleen baskets. these were made totally for a tourist sale item. the first one seems to have been commissioned, not sure for what purpose. it takes a great deal of work to put a baleen basket together. they are started with a flat ivory bottom piece and then topped often with another ivory piece.

i think my friend carla prefers these rye grass baskets. it's a very tight weave. these baskets are intricate to make and tend to be a bit pricey as well.

i always look at the baleen baskets for sale at the various shops and so i was checking out these baleen baskets for sale in the museum gift shop. the cheapest one cost $850.00. perhaps some lovely person will purchase one for me for christmas...hahahahahahaha....! they are a thing of beauty though! some day...

i did buy the book. the lighter colours are made from baleen that is lighter in colour. i've heard a few explanations for this but haven't read the book yet to find out what causes the baleen colour varieties.

above is the rather pricey art commissioned by anchorage and placed in front of the museum. modern art is not my favorite. seems sad to get someone not from alaska to do a grand piece such as this for a million bucks. i would have rather seen a large native piece of some sort.

this is my little window box at home. i have a tiny baleen and a small grass basket so happy to add this new seal gut one. they aren't as grand as some, but it's still a nice little collection!

back to a few more from denali. we looked very hard for moose in these 5 miles every time we passed by but none spotted here.

stayed up late and watched my still net flix movie, children of a lesser god. i remembered hearing about this movie but never watching it. not sure it was at all what i had in my mind it would be. not that i didn't enjoy it, but it wasn't a favorite. added several movies at carla's suggestion. she was on a quest to add to my list.

tonight i joined sandra for a movie in town. we watched, "contagion". it is pretty amazing how quickly a thing can spread. had a patient air lifted from seward years back, when i went to do my assessment i discovered a rash. lucky for us all, another nurse next to me recognized it as being meningealcoccal meningitis. we gowned up and took cipro. made me think though. all the exposures in such a short time. whoever she was in contact with in seward, the seward hospital er workers, the air lift crew, our er, pt initially went to the regular floor and then was transferred to our doesn't take much to spread disease.

i ended up taking care of the sickest of the sick who had that h1n1 flu. wore masks, gowns and gloves but there was no vaccine available until well after i'd no doubt been exposed several times. when in doubt you gown like hell and hope you don't catch the bug. when aids/hiv first came out nobody knew what was the cause. wash your hands people! anyway, i do like movies like that. read a great book, "blindness" several years back. i think that was by saramago? will give you nightmares. i heard they made a movie of it, not sure it really did it justice though.

while i was working in the yard rio pushed her way back inside, apparently i hadn't shut the door tightly. both cats escaped. lucky i was able to round them up quickly. my cats are indoor cats. the kitten hadn't been out and i was happy that she seemed freaked out and ran right back inside as soon as the opportunity was given to her.

believe i will turn in and read a bit...perhaps about baleen basketry.

as far as people i think i'm coming to just realize that some friendships have limitations. it's all about accepting people as they come, but understanding the limitations is still helpful. it's good to have many friends around you. they often serve different purposes in life. you can never change others, only how you react and interact with them.

always love black and white...

more of the big, cool rock and more attempts to slow down fast water.

picked up the hockey schedule for this coming year and started to mark on the calendar games i may be able to attend. will have to find people who may want to join me. want to see if anyone wants to go out bowling some night as well.

not that i am good at bowling, but it can be a fun night out on occasion.

great and productive days like that.

now, hopefully a long and sleep filled night.

will continue to try and capture the fall colours while they last.


  1. I love your blog (photos & commentary). The bright colors on the trees are so amazing. I want to see them in person. And those baleen baskets are so cool! I can't believe how expensive they are!

  2. that you stop by! do wish you would come to alaska one day! you are a gifted photographer and it would be so cool to see alaska through your lens!

  3. It's definitely on my near-future list of places to visit. After going to Yosemite I decided to start putting some of my SHP money towards photography trips to renew my love of photography. Alaska is definitely at the top of the list. What time of year would you recommend a visit?

  4. summers are most hospitable, but i love fall, end of august. the colours can be amazing.

  5. Thanks for the photos of the museum; my grandfather was a cook in a gold mine in Alaska and brought home mammoth teeth, corprolite and ivory figurines for his children to treasure.