Sitka is a very pretty town. It was the center of the fur trade in the 19oo's and was the first capitol of territorial Alaska. Today aprox 8900 people live there year round and is one of the only southeast town we have visited where the shops stay open even when the cruise ships are not docked. It seems younger than Juneau in spite of the long native and Russian history. Before any sight seeing first on our agenda was a trip to the post office to pick up some mail I was expecting "general delivery, Sitka." So we unpacked the bikes and off we went. Sadly no mail yet and its Saturday so we will have to come back on Monday.
The bikes are a great addition for us. They extend our reach into wherever we are by many miles.. Sitka was especially nice because once we found our way around it is possible to ride around most of the hills. (I hate hills.) We rode through old town and out to the 100 acre Sitka National Historical Park. We walked the one mile park path through old growth forest and along the beach winding our way through eleven old Tlingit and Haida poles. Then one of the best perks of being in a town- dinner out!
Another bonus of the bikes is with a bit of a balancing act and our day packs we are able to carry a tremendous amount of groceries to the boat. We lay in a couple of weeks worth of food and toilet paper in just two well balanced trips. Then we went back into town for a bit of touristy window shopping. We had to laugh again about "you do know this is a rain forest?" when we entered a book store in old downtown and were greeted by a hand lettered sign on brown paper saying "please don't drip on the books." Then (bonus again) dinner at a Mexican place before searching for St Peters By The Sea for an evening AA meeting.
After the meeting we decided to live on the wild side and ride our bikes to a movie. in an area of town we hadn't been yet at about the time we are usually headed to bed. The theater was quite a ways from the downtown core and even farther from the marina. We headed out of town at 730 and found ourselves riding down a very long hill. During the movie as much as I enjoyed our two and a half hours of Hollywood I wasn't looking forward to biking home at 1000pm. On our trip there though i had sighted the back entrance for the Historical Park. I knew that they dot allow bike riding in the park but if we could slide back that way we would miss the hill completely!. In spite of breaking the rules it was worth the risk. Especially since the bikes are really not high performance machines. They are more like clown bikes....in fact people stare at us quite often as we pedal along. We peddled our way stealthily through the deserted park. For some reason it made me grin and giggles at our lawbreaking, racing along the gravel paths (no we didn't walk them.) At just one day off the summer solstice it was still daylight at 1015 and screaming through the forest in the northern twilight felt wonderful. As we were nearing the boat I couldn't help but think had we not taken the short I would still be huffing and puffing my way up a long hill.
This morning we awoke to lots of fog and drizzle. We had not expected to leave Sitka for another day or two but once we had listened to the weather we knew we needed to either get a move on or risk being forced to stay in Sitka for two-three more days. So, with out finishing my emails or blog posts we rushed to get a quick wash down of the anchor mud on the for deck, filled a couple of water tanks and rushed to the Post Office hopping for mail. With a lovely letter from mom we were once again slipping the lines at the fuel dock and headed out.