Saturday, January 9, 2016

This Place We Live

Part of our long road trip in 2013-2014 was to visit friends and family, part of it was looking for the next place to live.  As such, we visited lots of people, and saw lots of good and bad places to live.  There were some stops where one night seemed way too long, and there were others that were very hard to leave.  Some of the fondness comes from the company, just ask our friends Dave and Judith, who several times after months as hosts have probably wondered if we were ever leaving.  Some of it comes from the great places our friends live.
The bottom line is no place is perfect, but even with it's issues and quirks, Sitka Alaska is a pretty special place.  When we came back to Sitka in October we we're offered a really sweet deal house-sitting until the end of the year.  The first couple pictures in this post show the view out the front windows, of the ocean and our own little volcano, Mount Edgecumbe.  You can't actually see Russia from here, but who the hell cares with views like this.
The other picture is looking across the lake at our new digs.  We moved in during the holidays and are finally settling in.  Lake out front, mountains out the back windows, still not too shabby.  Because Sitka is built at the oceans edge on the side of the mountains, there are not too many places you can live without a stunning view.  Be sure to click on the pictures to see the full screen version.
The other great thing about Sitka is it's sense of community.  There are lots of small groups with similar interests, lots of activities for families.  The holidays and festivals are big deals for many of the residents.  Even in the winter there is always something going on.
As an example I included a few pictures from Halloween, as most people know it is one of my favorite holidays.  You can see from the pictures that my enthusiasm has only grown now that I get to share the holiday with Madeline.  In Sitka they shut down the main street, and all the businesses give out candy as the kids trick-or-treat their way around downtown.
This makes sense in a community with regular sightings in town of 1000 lb. brown bears.  A small child with a bag of chocolate walking door to door in the dark seems an unnecessary temptation.
Speaking of bears, these folks have also found a fun and entertaining way to dispose of the jack-o-lanterns post holiday.  You may remember during our first stay in Sitka that Nicole worked for a facility that housed rescued brown bears, called Fortress of the Bears.  Turns out they have a little pre-hibernation party for the bears and the community just after Halloween.  Bring out your pumpkin, fill it with fruit, veggies and other treats, and then they fence off the bears while everyone goes in the enclosure and sets out their pumpkins.  The resulting mayhem watching the bears tear apart the pumpkins and eat the treats inside, watched from the safety of the catwalk above, is pretty entertaining.