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Old 08-30-2012, 09:36 PM   #151
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As I understand it, it's a place where all or many members of a clan live when they're not out hunting, fishing, or gathering food. That meant mostly in the winter months they shared space in the clan house, some of which were huge. I'm not sure of the difference, if any, between a family and the clan. There may have been family clusters within a clan. Any First Nations experts? Please chime in on that for us.

We're in Montana this evening, about 65 miles south of Helena, where I15 meets I90. We may make it to Sheridan, WY, tomorrow. Google Maps says we're 1,170 miles from home tonight. Getting quite travel worn now. A bit worried about finding places to overnight this weekend, what with it being such a big camping holiday. We may have to occupy WalMart for the first time....
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:49 PM   #152
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It snowed in the Canadian Rockies Monday night.

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Any guesses what the swirl is or how it got there?

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I think these are the eroded stumps of volcanos.

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This is just an eroded stump.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:36 PM   #153
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Like the pictures you have taken and I can't wait to experience what you guys are having now. Hey I like the idea of staying overnight free in an empty parking lot, good luck getting a site.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:16 PM   #154
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Welcome back to the good ole USA. I imagine you two are quite road weary by now. Haha @ Mr "Eroded Stump"!

Ah, yes of course, a clan house is a residence for families (clans). Makes sense, especially for winter, that they'd keep warmer in numbers.

It's probably something you already thought of, but as an ex-campground owner/operator, my advice is to phone ahead to each potential campground for campsite availability. Might save you some aggravation, plus you'll know what you're getting into. After each long day, with the stress of trying to get home, the less problems the better. If you find a good spot with availability, you probably should hunker down Friday and Saturday to wait out the worst of it. Some of them will go home on Sunday, pushing check out time, but they'll all be clearing out Monday for school and work on Tuesday. Interstate traffic will be heavy and a little more precarious both days too.

btw, What did make those swirls in the mountains? Lava flow? The snow really enhances the effect!

Deb
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:59 PM   #155
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Why travel. Courtenay's note
After foolishly drinking an iced coffee yesterday afternoon--we feel guilty about using McDonalds wifi without a purchase--I found myself unable to sleep last night and began to think about what I get from a trip like this. Being pulled away from my daily routine and work life allows me to open up, to explore other ways of being, to listen to new voices. Edge places have always called me and a trip to the Yukon and Alaska constantly brought us into contact with edges: the edge of the mountains, the plains, the edge of the tundra, the arctic, the edge of the sea, of the land, the edge of my culture, the edge of the culture of First Nations people as they call themselves in Canada, or First People as I am occasionally seeing in the US. It is the generous spirit of communication from First Nations people first in Canada and later in Alaska that stands out. Maybe it comes from having time to slow down and listen, maybe something is brewing, but as we stopped at First Nation's cultural centers and heard stories and saw displays put together and presented by proud local people, a dialogue developed, a connection was made. We were not just another tourist couple, paying a fee and racing through. We were honored guests, graced with a story, offered an opportunity to connect. It wasn't about professional museum presentation--some centers obviously had more funds, more resources, others had a homemade feel--it was about a desire to share a piece of the story, their story, our joint story, in all its complicated aspects. There are fine museums and we visited many, but the experiences that stand out are not seeing beautiful artefacts accompanied by pithy academic explanations. They are the conversation with a young native woman who plans to go into social work to help first nations teens and young adults make the difficult transition to adulthood; the moving description of a talented weaver describing how her mother lost her culture when she was sent to school and her own attempts to recapture a piece of that culture through her work and her efforts to avoid alcohol addiction; the young Navajo guide who discovered he could converse with his Athabascan friends in central Alaska in his native language and felt himself drawn to stay and work there [Athabascans and Navajo trace their origins to a common root and their languages have many common words, they each call themselves the Dine or Dinae, meaning 'the people']; the Inuit artist who told of the shock of encountering heat and humidity when he attended school in the lower 48; the elder artist in Inuvik who shared the origin story of the mermaid doll she made; the totem carver who encompasses traditional carving and contemporary methods in his work, traveling between New York and Ketchikan. We were honored to meet all these people, to share a brief moment of true connection with them.

The other important moments came as we heard again and again of a change in the climate--too much rain, not enough rain, extreme snow, lack of snow--loss of habitats and the sudden decline of populations of land and sea creatures. You can't go to the far north with your ears and eyes open and not realize something is going on. In this land of so many fragile ecosystems something is afoot. I had a fascinating discussion with the archeologist in charge of programming for the Beringia Center in Whitehorse. He told me that he sees it from two perspectives. By training he sees the long view, changes in the earth's climate over eons. From that perspective the earth will be alright. It's gone through thousands of years of cataclysmic change, cooling, warming, cooling, warming. Animals and ecosystems come and go. But from the perspective of humanity, sudden cataclysmic changes will cause upheaval beyond what we can imagine, and the signs are pointing that way as changes come at an unprecedented rate. One final epiphany came as we watched those Chinook salmon leap over and over trying to get up Rearguard Falls after traveling 800 miles. This is a remarkable world and we ought to do everything we can to live on it with reverence and respect, to live with all things in harmony, to consider the true bottom line.

In a few days we arrive home to pick up our daily lives. Thanks for sharing this great experience with us. Courtenay
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:12 AM   #156
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Courtenay - while I am not a green tree hugging fanatic - your thoughts reflect a discussion my spouse and I had a couple months ago about how each of us must take care to take care of our environment. The is always a cause and effect of what someone does - we all live on the same planet, breathe the same air, drink the water and eat the foods that come from the earth....if we stopped taking care, our lives could definitely take a turn for the worse.

Thanls for your prospective!
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:52 PM   #157
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Well said, ladies.
Again, thanks Lee and Courtenay for sharing your travels with us all! Such an interesting and enlightening trip of a life time.

Welcome home,
Deb
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:38 PM   #158
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thehamguy1- I've read everyone of your postings and enjoyed the pictures. I've taken many notes. I've enjoyed your trip vicariously and now I hope to enjoy Alaska in reality. I'm planning a similar trip next year. You have paved the trail for me! Thank you for all the time you put into this.
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Old 08-31-2012, 03:09 PM   #159
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Prayers offered in Detroit for your friend with Cancer.

God Bless you all.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:21 PM   #160
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Thanks to everyone for the support and the kind words. We are fortunate to have been able to make this trip and it seems a bit unreal to find we are just 2 or 3 days from home, depending on how hard we want to push ourselves. Tonight we're in Buffalo, WY, at Deer Park Campground, a delightful place so friendly and inviting that we may decide to back off a bit from the drive to get home and stay here through the weekend.
Last night we were also at a fine campground, Camp Three Forks at Three Forks, WY. As we drove along today looking for a place to stay we began to lament that we'd left that peaceful place. But Courty, bless her, stopped at a place where the wi is fi and did some searching online. There are 3 CGs in Buffalo but she liked the looks of this one so we called ahead to see if they had any openings. They did, in fact there are plenty of empty sites even yet this evening. it's hard to understand why; this place is great. Later this evening they have their nightly ice cream social--bring a bowl, a buck, and a spoon and dig in. There's even a hot tub! I may never get Court on the road again!
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