Saturday, September 6, 2014


The BIGGEST and BOLDEST ravens I ever saw were in Alaska.  We went on a Princess Cruise out of San Francisco bound for Alaska.  It was so beautiful up there, the last frontier for the United States.  So much undeveloped land, so many ravens.  In Sitka I saw a REALLY big raven calling to me, well I KNOW he was calling to ME.  We took a walk in the beautiful temperate rain forest and there were many ravens flitting about and making those wonderful raven sounds.  I got some cool raven souvenirs too.
When some friends said recently that they were going on a cruise to Alaska, I said" I want to go BACK" and so we did.  This time we flew to Seattle and got on the Princess ship headed to Alaska.  We visited towns all along the inland passage and every day was sunny and warm.  We were told that they had had only two days of sunny weather all summer.  We really lucked out.  The train ride in Skagway that follows the trail to the Yukon gold strike of 1898 was absolutely breathtaking!   Everywhere we went was scenic and lovely,  BUT- no ravens were seen at most of the places that we visited.  I was so disappointed.  The exceptions were at Ketchikan and Juneau.
 At Ketchikan the salmon were running in their yearly return to the place of their birth.  There are five different varieties of salmon and the sockeye is my favorite.  Their color is so red and beautiful.  The creeks were full of returning salmon.  Most were busy swimming up stream.  Further up stream we found many dying salmon.  The ravens were competing with the bald eagles for a share of the dying salmon.  The raven gives way to the eagle and I can understand why- they are really big birds!  But raven was getting his share and flying off with hunks of salmon.
Our visit to Juneau included a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier.  This was a sight to see.  The melting ice of the glacier has formed a beautiful lake below the glacier.  One could see the fantastic blue color of the glacial ice from the viewing spots at the visitor center.  We walked around and came to a creek feeding into the lake.  There were many salmon swimming in the creek and the melodious sound of raven song in the trees.  That was very nice.  I enjoyed it all.
Our ship returned to Seattle on August 24th, a Sunday.  We were taken to the airport from the ship to await our flight home.  We got settled at the airport gate for our long wait.  Our ship came in at 7:30 AM and our flight to Sacramento wasn't until 2:20 PM.  I noticed on the TV screen near our seats that CNN was announcing that an earthquake had occurred in California.  I told Chuck I was going to go over to the TV and see where the earthquake was located.  I nearly fainted when I saw it was in Napa!!!!  I was really upset.  We had many hours to wait until we could get on the plane and make our way home.  I could only imagine what the damage to our home would be.  Our home on Mt. Veeder had survived the earthquake of 2000 with no damage, but the homes in the neighborhood where we now live had suffered serious damage in 2000.  Now in 2014, another earthquake!!!
We managed to get our daughter, Lexy, on the cell phone and she said she was going up to the house to check on the cat (big Jack) and the house.  She called later and said that there was a lot of broken glass and a big mess in the kitchen from the refrigerator opening and dumping the contents on the floor.  Furniture was moved around, fallen stuff everywhere and no cat could be found.  So with that news we waited for our plane.
We got home to Napa at 6:30 PM.  Lexy had cleaned up the kitchen and  dumped a large amount of broken glass in the garbage cans.  She was good to do all this as our homecoming would have been much worse had the kitchen been a really big mess.  We had stopped on the way home in Vacaville for groceries because she had warned us that all the grocery stores were closed in Napa.  We all had dinner and called it a day.  What a day.  After Lexy left I walked the neighborhood looking for Jack.  Lexy had had all the doors open while she cleaned to let the odor of spilled liquids out (crème-de-mint, pickle juice and ranch dressing all mixed together).  I figured that Jack had run out the door while the getting was good.  I could not find him so I finally gave up and came home.  When I got inside the house I heard a little meow- he crawled out of all the stuff that had dumped in one of the closets.  I was so glad to see him!!
The next day Chuck checked for structural damage and found none.  We are so lucky.  So many people have catastrophic damage.  Two story homes were hit the hardest, some in our small cul-de-sac.
I was so happy to be home.  It took several days to pick up/clean up/ install latches on the kitchen doors/ straps to furniture and get back to normal life.  To celebrate I put a chicken egg out in the platform feeder.  It has disappeared!  Could it be raven?? He is the only bird around here that can fly off with an egg.  The platform feeder has a squirrel guard so no mammal can get up to the feeder.  I like to think a raven has visited me on my return to the Napa Valley.