THE 1989 EFFORT
Labor Day weekend was chosen in order to make it possible to include more participants. The coast Guard was alerted to our route. The Sitka Fire Department loaned us a good radio.
The 1989 party consisted of Herbert Hope, Fred Hope, Harold Kitka (representing the Eagles), Tom Thornton (a young anthropologist), Bill Brady (on the support vessel), and Ralph Brady (as deckhand on the support vessel).
After a brief ceremony at the site of Shís'gi Noow that included young Tlingit dancers and singers, and several speakers, we were off.
We chose the route from the Sitka National Monument to Halibut Point then on to Gajaa Héen (Old Sitka). A distance of 7 miles for the first days efforts.
My sister Ellen Hayes, my friend Alfred Gray and his daughter walked with us to Gajaa Héen. We arrived at 3:00 p.m. in time to join a tribal picnic being held in our honor. We camped overnight at the campgrounds and departed early the next morning.
We climbed a 2,500 foot mountain then walked along the mountain tops toward Katlian Bay. We descended into Katlian Bay where we were met by our support vessel. We moved two miles across the bay and set up camp at Cedar Cove.
The next day we crossed the peninsula that separates Katlian Bay and Nakwasina Bay. We lost some time when we got mixed up with another clear cut area.
We arrived in Nakwasina and began the long walk to the north along the gravel beaches that line the shore. As agreed upon, Bill Brady soon arrived and picked us up and took us to the head of the bay. We have walked these beaches many times and I didnt think that we needed to do it again.
We landed in the main river and headed for the mountain passes on the west side of the valley before making camp for the night.
The next day we began our climb toward what we hoped were mountain passes. In a driving rainfall and under heavy cloud cover we made a wrong turn and headed up the wrong valley.
After climbing all day we reached a lake at elevation 1,927 feet. We tried to find a way around the lake but we could not make it past any of the cliffs that fall directly into the lake.
The next day we called it off and returned to the beach. We were out of annual leave time and had to get back to our jobs. We were satisfied that this was not the route taken by our people in 1804.
After returning to Anchorage I thought this over and decided to build a scale model of this area of the island to see what kind of terrain lay between Nakwasina and Hanus Bay. The scale is one quarter inch to each 500 feet. The model started out to be 2 feet by 2 feet but has since grown to be 4 feet wide by 5 feet long.