National Geographic : 1933 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by George R. King KETCHIKAN FALLS, ONE OF THOUSANDS ALONG THE ALASKA COAST The town of Ketchikan is perched on a mountain side, with this clear, foaming stream rushing down through it to the sea. In proper season salmon swarm up the creek and leap its waterfalls on their way to quieter waters where they may spawn. "I wouldn't be surprised," said the bow paddler, "if that were old Tom." And old Tom it was. But Tom had a chart hung over his port window. Also, we were close against seaweed-covered rocks, nearly the same golden yellow as the canoe; so Tom did not see us. We were glad, for we had no wish to cause him un necessary embarrassment. Where he had been for those three hours will forever remain a mystery, probably even to Tom. We met Tom again in Wrangell, three days later, and there was mutual joy at the reunion. Weren't we tired of pad dling? he asked. Wouldn't we like a lift the rest of the way? He'd take us right to Juneau. The offer was magnanimous, but not enticing. We did go with him across Dry Strait, just above Wrangell. Where he went after that we do not know, for when we reached Juneau, on August 15, 53 days from Tacoma, the Mary T. had not ar rived. Nor did she appear during the two weeks that we stayed there before our prosaic journey homeward by steamer. And now Tom is on our consciences. That is one of the reasons why we shall go up the Inside Passage again this sum mer-to look for the Mary T. Of course, there are other reasons, too. There are dozens of inlets that we have not explored, scores of passages that we have not tried, many miles of coast that are but dotted lines on the charts, many Indian graves and villages to be hunted. And there is the memory of 53 days of magnificent freedom, that made even mail undesirable, because mail constituted a connecting link with a world of realities we had left far behind. Yes, we shall go back.