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Harriman Expedition Retraced

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Expedition Log


Following is a daily summary of the activities of the Harriman Expedition Retraced. Log Entries, on the right-hand sidebar, are perspective pieces written by Young Explorers or scholars. The left-hand sidebar links to a variety of on-board sections, including summaries of lectures giving during the expedition. The Souvenir Albums include selected daily photos documenting various ports-of-call, and the Sketch Book holds scanned images of artwork done aboard the Clipper Odyssey during this expedition.


Daily Summaries:

July 21, 2001: Seattle, Washington

The original Harriman Alaska Expedition started the sea portion of its journey in Seattle, where the participants held a banquet ashore before boarding the S.S. George W. Elder. The Harriman Retraced participants began their voyage in Seattle, too, with a banquet, but would catch their ship elsewhere.


July 22, 2001: Prince Rupert, British Columbia

After an overnight stay in Seattle, Harriman Retraced participants boarded a jet and flew to Prince Rupert's, then traveled by ferry and bus to board the ship in Prince Rupert, an important shipping and commercial center in northern British Columbia. Once aboard the M.V. Clipper Odyssey, participants were immediately briefed on ship safety and lifeboat procedures.


July 23, 2001: Cape Fox; Annette Island and Metlakatla; Ketchikan; Saxman

Expedition members visited the site of Old Cape Fox Village, to participate in a healing ceremony, led by Rosita Worl, Eleanor Hadden and Irene Shields. They built a fire and sang traditional songs, while Harriman Retrace participants brought offerings in a gesture of reconciliation with the spirits of Tlingit ancestors. The ceremony marked the beginning of the "Celebration of Healing" held in honor of the repatriation of objects from old Cape Fox collected during the Expedition of 1899.

Next, the Clipper Odyssey visited the community of Metlakatla on Annette Island. There, Harriman Retraced participants visited the salmon cannery and the home of Father Duncan, a Presbyterian missionary who brought Tsimshian people to the island in the 19th century.

The final stop of the day was Ketchikan, where Tlingits from the neighboring village of Saxman met the Clipper Odyssey to witness the unloading of the repatriated objects. The objects, lowered by crane onto a flatbed truck, were taken to the home of a Tlingit elder and then to the Saxman Civic Center to be viewed. At the Center, Harriman Retraced passengers attended a celebratory potlatch with the community.


July 24, 2001: Wrangell

As the Clipper Odyssey docked at Wrangell, local Tlingits paddled out to meet the ship in wooden canoe. In town, expedition members visited the petroglyphs, the museum and the historic house of Chief Shakes. At a welcome ceremony held in the Elks Lodge, Wrangell children performed dances and the vice mayor presented Tom Litwin with the key to the city. On the way back to the ship, Harriman Retraced participants stopped to buy garnets harvested by local children from a site near the Stikine River.


July 25, 2001: Tracy Arm and Juneau

After pulling up to the dock in a very heavy "Juneauesque" mist, Harriman Retraced participants visited the Alaska State Museum to view Alaska Native crafts and tools from across the state. They next attended a reception held at the mansion of Governor Tony and First Lady Susan Knowles. At the mansion, the Knowles displayed the silver and ivory punchbowl that was given to Edward Harriman by the 1899 Harriman Expedition participants. Governor Averell Harriman (a very young participant on the original expedition) later gave the bowl to the state of Alaska. The Governor and First Lady then came onboard the Clipper Odyssey for dinner and gave a talk about current economics and politics in the state.


July 26, 2001: Skagway

In Skagway, a waystation for gold rush prospectors, Harriman Retraced participants, like the original Harriman expedition, rode the White Pass railroad to Bennett Lake. In 1899, prospectors on the railroad stopped at the lake, then traveled on by foot to the Yukon River to Dawson City. Harriman participants spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the historic town of Skagway. One popular spot was the cemetery where infamous town conman Soapy Smith was laid to rest along with many other gold-rush era townspeople.


July 27, 2001: Sitka

Harriman participants rose early this morning to see a lanky black bear prowl the shores of Peril Straight. When Harriman participants arrived at Sitka, they boarded buses and toured the town, including the old pulp mill. Later, participants attended a community forum held in the Sheetla Kwan Nakahidi House and went for a nature walk in National Historic Park, led by local nature writer Richard Nelson. Some Harriman participants also visited the St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church.


July 28, 2001: Glacier Bay

A few early risers saw over a dozen feeding humpback whales rolling off the bow at Port Adolphus. Later, the Clipper Odyssey passed icebergs, dark blue and ribboned with gravel, as it sailed into Glacier Bay National Park. Stopping near the Marble Islands, participants spied puffins winging across the water and later in the afternoon, near Marjorie Glacier, a blonde-tufted brown bear meandered along the shore.


July 29, 2001: Yakutat

In the morning, teacher, historian and local village elder, Elaine Abraham came aboard the Clipper Odyssey, accompanied by her son David Ramos, other community members and children. She lectured on sealing, subsistence and the Yakutat community. The Clipper Odyssey sailed on rolling seas into Disenchantment Bay to the ice field at the foot of the Hubbard Glacier. Harriman participants witnessed as Elaine and her family gave an offering of tobacco to the Glacier. The Clipper Odyssey returned to the town of Yakutat, where Harriman participants and local community people gathered at the Alaska Native Brotherhood hall to discuss the implications of the way Native people were portrayed in the volumes that followed the original expedition.


July 30, 2001: Kayak Island

After a morning of watching humpback whales, Harriman participants arrived by Zodiac on the sandy beach of Kayak Island. As they gathered for various hikes, participants saw hundreds of shorebirds and a Steller sealion in the in the cove. While on the island, some folks hiked to Steller's Cave, some observed the flora, some bushwhacked through backwoods in search of an archeological site, and all feasted on blueberries, salmon berries and wild strawberries that grew in abundance across the island.


July 31, 2001: Prince William Sound, Cordova and Valdez

Arriving in Cordova in morning mist, Harriman participants explored the small town, and the cannery in nearby Orca. Later, as the weather cleared, the Clipper Odyssey arrived in Valdez. Participants traveled to the Alyeska Terminal to see the loading berths, tankers and termination of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline. Some also visited the museum in Valdez and took the opportunity to use an on-shore phone to call home.


August 1, 2001: Columbia Glacier, College Fjord and Harriman Fjord

Blessed with a perfect day (sunny, 47 degree), Harriman participants motored through brash ice to observe the massive Harvard Glacier. As if performing for the camera, a huge chunk of glacial ice calved into the ocean, rumbling like a jet at takeoff and sending a sizable swell toward the Zodiacs. Later, the Clipper Odyssey sailed into Harriman Fjord, where participants explored the Harriman Glacier and surrounding wilderness.


August 2, 2001: Squire, Knight and La Touche Islands

Harriman passengers took Zodiacs for a cruise around Knight and Squire Islands to observe life in the intertidal zone: starfish, crab and jellyfish. Later, they visited La Touche Island, the site of an abandoned copper mining town. Many participants explored the old town site and surrounding woods while others examined deposits of fool's gold and copper among debris left over from mining operations. A few nature walkers who strayed from the group caught a glimpse of a fleeing black bear.


August 3, 2001: Chiswell Islands and Kenai Fjords National Park

At the Chiswell Islands, a collection of steep rock outcroppings rising from the ocean, Harriman participants observed countless shorebirds, otters, and sea lions. Participants in one Zodiac also spotted the smooth black fin of a killer whale. In the afternoon, some participants ventured out in a blowing rain to Harris Bay, where they examined the site of an ancient Alutiiq village with archeologist Aron Crowell.


August 4, 2001: Homer

The Clipper Odyssey docked on the Homer Spit where Harriman participants boarded buses for a trip to the Pratt Museum in the center of town. Many visited local galleries while a few took the opportunity to use the laundromat. Next, participants boarded the Storm Bird that ferried them across Kachemak Bay to the small community of Halibut Cove. Former state senator Clem Tillion and his wife Diana, long time residents, met them at the dock. In Halibut Cove, participants strolled the boardwalks and enjoyed lunch at the Saltry, the Cove's only restaurant.


August 5, 2001: Kenai Fjords and Barren Islands

In the early morning Harriman Passengers motored through a small canal into Surprise Bay, Kenai Fjords National Park. On shore, they hiked across the rocky beach into a forest populated with old, moss-covered spruce trees to an abandoned cabin at Sunny Fox gold mine. Participants panned for gold in a nearby stream, while others took a steep climb to examine mining equipment and the old mine shaft. Some of the first hikers encountered a black bear feasting on plump blueberries among rusted mining machinery near the trail.


August 6, 2001: The Triplets and Kodiak Island

In clear, warm morning weather, Harriman participants and guests from Kodiak visited the Triplet Islands in Marmot Bay where they cruised close in to the steep cliffs to observe nesting birds. Scores of puffins, gulls and cormorants flew in arced flight patterns above them, filling the sky with their cries. Later, the Clipper Odyssey docked at Kodiak, and passengers disembarked to explore Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church and the Baranof, St. Herman and the Alutiiq Museums. Participants concluded the evening with a trip to the National Fishery Research Center, where Alutiiq dancers and Russian Balalaika Players entertained.


August 7, 2001: Geographic Harbor and Kukak Bay

The Clipper Odyssey made its way into Amalik Bay in bright morning sun. As the boat anchored at the head of Geographic Harbor, passengers noticed blonde ash on the mountains, the product of an eruption of the Novarupta volcano a century ago. Entering the smaller bays at low tide, Zodiac parties scouted for bears on the pumice-strewn beaches of Katmai National Park. Nearly a dozen ambled along the beach, feeding on shellfish in the tidal zone. Next, Harriman participants stopped at Kukak Bay Refuge Rock Archeological Site, where they bushwhacked through high grass, fireweed and devil's club, to observer the location of an ancient village.


August 8, 2001: Chignik

At Chignik, a fishing town on the Alaska Peninsula, Harriman passengers enjoyed a sunny break in the heavy clouds as they disembarked by Zodiac. In town, many toured the Norwest salmon cannery while others took hikes. Some headed up a long ladder to the reservoir while others trekked up an ATV trail into the rolling green hills and steep headlands behind the community. Nearly everyone enjoyed a delicious confection, or two, from the town's famous Donut Shop.


August 9, 2001: Unga Island

Harriman participants took a long beach walk on the southeastern tip of Unga Island to examine a petrified forest visible only at low tide. Other participants explored invertebrate life in tidal pools, watched birds or climbed shore slopes to take in the flat rolling landscape. Later, the Clipper Odyssey anchored outside of deserted Unga Village. Along the boardwalk lined with fireweed, Harriman explorers looked for clues about those who lived in this now-deserted town. Some also stopped to visit a solitary grave of a 5-year-old girl who died at the turn-of- the-century, and was buried in the shade of a spruce tree near the old school.


August 10, 2001: Unimak Island

Harriman passengers arrived on the crescent-shaped black sand beach at Unimak Island just as the sun burned through low cloud cover. As the day cleared, the steaming Shishaldin volcano became visible in the distance. One group of participants walked the long beach, watching seals play in calm waters. Another group hiked into the squishy tundra that covered the island and picked fresh strawberries. On a nature walk, a participant found the jaw of a juvenile brown bear, complete with an impressive set of teeth, in the tide line.


August 11, 2001: Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, Bogoslof Island

At Unalaska, passengers disembarked the Clipper Odyssey in glaring sun and boarded school buses to quickly tour the town. Stops on the tour included the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Ascension, the cemetery, a W.W.II Memorial, a local archeological site, the Museum of the Aleutians, and the Grand Aleutian Hotel. The Clipper Odyssey's next stop was in the Bering Sea near Bogoslof Island, where thousands of sea lions lolled on the beach. Keeping a safe distance so as not to disturb the animals, Harriman participants sat in Zodiacs, rocking over swells, and watched the creatures through binoculars. As sea birds swooped over them, participants could hear the sea lions roaring and barking from the island.


August 12, 2001: St. George Island, Pribilofs

Harriman participants rode Zodiacs across the choppy Bering Sea near St. George in the Pribilofs. On shore, some participants hiked in the cold, blowing fog across rocky maritime tundra to the high cliffs, where they scouted for red-legged kittiwakes. Other Harriman explorers visited the seal blind, and watched hundreds of fur seals bask in the sun. Others toured the seal plant to observe manual sealskin processing, now an almost lost art. Harriman participants were invited to view the ornate icons inside the newly restored Great Martyr Russian Orthodox Church.


August 13, 2001: St. Paul Island, Pribilofs

Arriving at St. Paul Island in the morning, Harriman participants disembarked their Zodiacs among a dozen long-line halibut boats docked in the harbor. They boarded buses bound for the seal rookery at Reef Point, where they saw countless semi-adult male northern fur seals lounging among wild yellow poppies along the side of the road. They also climbed along rocky cliffs to view puffins, kittiwakes and thick-billed murres. On the way back, some participants saw reindeer grazing in the rolling countryside, and a few glimpsed the Arctic fox scavenging trash on Main Street.


August 14, 2001: St. Matthew Island and Hall Island

During disembarkation from the Clipper Odyssey, passengers were warned to be on the look out for possible stray polar bears. The beach was empty except for a gray whale skeleton, but the spongy tundra provided a rich habitat for brown lemmings, foxes, and various sea birds including the McKay bunting. Wildflowers were plentiful as well. In the afternoon, Harriman participants enjoyed a Zodiac tour around the steep cliffs of Hall Island to view an incredible array of sea birds and curious Steller sea lions.


August 15, 2001: Gambell

As Harriman participants landed on the pebble beach at Gambell, curling waves crashed against their Zodiacs. Local residents on four-wheelers met them on the beach and gave participants rides into town. Others walked the 3/4 mile route through a neighborhood where white whale bones were stacked high in yards for use in crafts and construction. In town, many Harriman participants visited the Coop to purchase walrus ivory carved by the skilled local carvers. Later, Harriman participants gathered at the community center where they watched traditional Yu'pik dancers.


August 16, 2001: Teller, Little Diomede Island, and Russian Waters

Harriman participants arrived in Teller just as the town woke up and the postmaster raised the flag outside the post office. Sled dogs stretched in the mud near their shelters. Teller residents, dressed in floral patterned kuspuks, performed dances in the town community hall. The Clipper Odyssey next dropped anchor between Big Diomede and Little Diomede Islands and passengers watched as a herd of walruses swam across the narrow passage. After landing, groups of Harriman participants joined local guides to explore the Little Diomede's rocky paths that ran along cliffs. Participants observed many of the trappings of Little Diomede subsistence life: stretched walrus skins, meat drying on lines, nets for catching auklets, whale bones, walrus skulls and tusks. Diomede dancers also performed for Harriman passengers in the gym of the Little Diomede School. Late that night, the Clipper Odyssey crossed into Russian waters, then sailed north. At 11:37 p.m., when the boat crossed the Arctic Circle, passengers who had gathered on the bridge cheered and clapped.


August 17, 2001: Cape Dezhnev and Lorino Village, Russian Far East

The coldest morning to date found the Clipper Odyssey anchored in the bay near the steep cliffs of Cape Dezhnev, Siberia, where they could glimpse North America from Asia. On shore, Harriman participants hiked soft soil bluffs to explore the former village of Naukan, a former Eskimo village, that is thought to have been inhabitated for 2,000 years. Villagers were forceably resettled from the site by the Soviet government in the 1950s. Visitors hiked the rocky slopes inspecting housepits, meat caches and a Soviet built monument/lighthouse, noting the mix of traditional and modern in the abandoned village: modern dishes, appliances and clothes lay in traditional stone house pits, fuel cans were strewn among the bones of whale and walrus.

In the bright afternoon sunshine, passengers were greeted by enthusiastic members of the Chukchi village of Lorino, including the governor. Chukchi women dressed in traditional brown, beaded costumes stood in a line beating skin drums in a gesture of welcome. The beach was crowded with townspeople selling crafts. Women and children performed dances and men rowed by in biadarkas. After the dances, the town was presented with a gift of school supplies. Then some Harriman participants hiked the steep sand hill to explore the town. They walked the muddy streets among leaning electric poles, dog yards, and Soviet-era apartment buildings. In the distance, a fox farm, once the town's livelihood, stretched out across the rolling Siberian hills.


August 18, 2001: Itygran Island and Yanrakino Village, Russian Far East

In the early morning sunshine, Harriman participants explored "Whale Bone Alley," a rocky, bone-strewn beach on Itygran Island. They walked in the frost-covered vegetation among bowhead whalebones that stood like naked, bleached tree trunks. This was an archaeological site from the 1300s; the bones were most likely erected as part of an ancient ceremony. While some participants hiked into the rolling hills, others took a walk along the beach. At the end of the beach, explorers found the headless carcass of a walrus they speculated was killed for its tusks.

In the afternoon, Clipper Odyssey passengers landed at the small Chukchi Eskimo village, Yanrakino, near the freshly butchered carcass of a whale. Villagers met the Zodiacs with drumming, whale meat, and a small market of traditional handicrafts. Locals entertained passengers with dancing, games of jumping over sleds, and wrestling. After presenting the village teacher with school supplies and clothes that passengers had collected, Harriman participants took an opportunity to walk through the town, examining the quaint, single-family homes, introducing themselves to the local people and playing with the town's many curious children. The day ended with a dog sled race on the beach.


August 19, 2001: Nome and Anchorage

Disembarking the Clipper Odyssey for the final time, Harriman Expedition members said their good-byes to the crew and boarded school buses for a tour of Nome. On the tour they saw the cemetery, the prison, the school, and the tundra, littered with rusting equipment from abandoned gold mining operations.

In the afternoon, the group flew from Nome to Anchorage. A farewell dinner was held at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. Harriman participants toured the collection, and compared the painted scenes with the landscapes and wildlife that they had just encountered in person. After concluding remarks, a Native Alaskan band, PAMYUA, performed for the group.



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Log Entries


July 21, 2001
Seattle, WA

July 22, 2001
Prince Rupert,
British Columbia

July 23, 2001
Ketchikan

July 24, 2001
Wrangell Island

July 25, 2001
Tracy Arm & Juneau

July 26, 2001
Tourism Industry, Skagway

July 26, 2001
Skagway

July 27, 2001
Sitka &
Raptor Center

July 28, 2001
Glacier Bay

July 29, 2001
Yakutat Village

July 29, 2001
Yakutat Bay &
Hubbard Glacier

July 30, 2001
Kayak Island

July 31, 2001
Cordova &
Valdez

August 1, 2001
College &
Harriman Fjords

August 2, 2001
Prince William
Sound

August 3, 2001
Kenai Fjords
National Park

August 4, 2001
Homer

August 5, 2001
Surprise Bay

August 6, 2001
Triplets &
Kodiak Island

August 7, 2001
Geographic Harbor

August 8, 2001
Semidi Islands
& Chignik

August 9, 2001
Unga Island

August 10, 2001
Unimak Island

August 11, 2001
Unalaska/
Dutch Harbor

August 12, 2001
St. George Island,
Pribilofs

August 13, 2001
St. George &
St. Paul Islands,
Pribilofs

August 14, 2001
St. Matthew &
Hall Islands

August 15, 2001
Gambell, Saint
Lawrence Island

August 16, 2001
Teller, Port Clarence &
Little Diomede Island

August 17, 2001
Cape Dezhnev &
Lorino, Russia

August 18, 2001
Itygran Island &
Yanrakino, Russia

August 19, 2001
Nome

 

For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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