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Smart, John W. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Vol. 27, No. 3 (December 1922)

Markwardt, L. J.
Some sidelights on an Alaskan trip,   pp. 41-42


Page 41


4'
The WISCONSIN ENGINEER
SOME SIDELIGHTS O N AN ALASKAN TRIP
            By L. J. MARKWARDT, C 'I2, CE '22
  Some years ago, while in Seattle I observed on every
hand attractive advertisements of Alaska tours, artis-
tically decorated with wierd totems and charming pic-
tures of nature's wonderland, which created in me a
                         csiiri1dprmno desire to see that
land of which so little is
known. Through a chain of
circumstances, this ambition
burst into reality when on a
beautiful day in July of this
year I boarded a boat for our
most northerly future state.
  Alaska has been described
by an encyclopedia of the not
remote past in the following
glowing and enlightening man-
ner: "Russian possessions in
North America; vast unex-
plored regions; snow and ice;
nolar bears and Esouimo In-
   L. J. MARKWARDT       dians." This obviously is the
impression still retained by many concerning Alaska, re-
gardless of the fact that long ago we should have out-
grown this imaginative conception.  I hopefully ex-
amine(d the map of Alaska in the Eleventh Edition of
Encyclopedia Britannica, published scarcely more than
a decade ago, for the city of Cordova, which was to be
my first stopping point. But to no avail. Even the
closest scrutiny failed to disclose Ketchikan, a thriving
metropolis of southeastern Alaska. Then the realiza-
tion came that Alaska is virtually a new country,
changing, expanding, and developing to meet new con-
ditions, and setting a pace that out-distances even the
map makers. All of which, of course, added to the
interest of the trip.
  Instructions bade me take passage on the Steamship
Mariposa. I can imagine the smile which brightened
the day for an agent of the Alaska Steamship Com-
pany when he received a wire requesting a reserva-
I
CLOSING THE LAST LINK IN THE ALASKAN RAILWAY.
    This is the approach to the bridge across the Tanana
    River at Nenana, about 57 miles from Fairbanks.
    The trestle is said to contain a million feet of lumber.
tion on this boat, and can almost hear his chuckle at
the return wire advising that accommodations were
being held on the Steamship Alameda.     Something
must surely be wrong to cause a mixup of this kind.
But what seemed like grim tragedy in Madison was
comedy in Seattle, as practically any citizen there will
gladly volunteer the information that the Mariposa has
been reposing peacefully in Davy Jones's locker for five
MAP OF ALASKA, SHOWING THE ROUTE TAKEN BY
                  MARKWARDT
years or so, and that in Sumner Strait a certain reef
which caused her doom now bears her name.
  The trip to southeastern Alaska is made by what is
known as the inside passage. Here, the steamers wind
in and out among beautifully wooded islands, whose
lofty mountains afford a protection from the ocean
proper which makes travel not unlike that of a river;
the channel usually calm, sometimes not a ripple on
its surface. Here, then, for a thousand miles' stretch
may be had sea travel without sea sickness. At Queen
Charlotte Sound, Milbank Sound, and Dixon Entrance
short glimpses of the Pacific are obtained, with just
sufficient of the ocean roll to remind the traveler of
his good fortune in having such a protection as this
coast affords.
  Forty-eight hours' ride from Seattle, through Can-
adian waters, brings the traveler to Ketchikan, the
first port in Alaska. Ketchikan is a thriving city of
approximately 3,000 people with most modern stores
and residences.
  One of the most interesting industries in southeast-
ern Alaska is fox farming. Many of the islands dot-
ting the coast make ideal fox ranches, as the water
forms a natural barrier, and no fencing is necessary.
DECEMBER, I922


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