SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 15

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 1-3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the Green Lake Road trailhead.

Normally, the group picks the trail on the day of the hike, but occasionally a trail is picked before the event. SAIL makes trekking poles available for hikers to use (trekking poles are great on ice or uneven terrain, and they help seniors keep their balance), and hikers are encouraged to bring ice cleats such as YakTrax during the icy months of winter.

SAIL offers Senior Hiking Club events for those age 60 or older once a month, usually on the second or third Thursday. There is a $5 fee, but nobody will be turned away because of finances. The hikes are open to people of all abilities and fitness levels. To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, check out our January 2013 post introducing the club.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, senior and adaptive kayaking trips, senior cycling events, and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Clare Kelly at 747-6859 or email her at ckelly@sailinc.org. The calendar includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• SAIL events calendar for February 2018

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SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 1

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 1-3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 1. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the Forest and Muskeg Trail trailhead/

Normally, the group picks the trail on the day of the hike, but occasionally a trail is picked before the event. SAIL makes trekking poles available for hikers to use (trekking poles are great on ice or uneven terrain, and they help seniors keep their balance), and hikers are encouraged to bring ice cleats such as YakTrax during the icy months of winter.

SAIL offers Senior Hiking Club events for those age 60 or older once a month, usually on the second or third Thursday. There is a $5 fee, but nobody will be turned away because of finances. The hikes are open to people of all abilities and fitness levels. To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, check out our January 2013 post introducing the club.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, senior and adaptive kayaking trips, senior cycling events, and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Clare Kelly at 747-6859 or email her at ckelly@sailinc.org. The calendar includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• SAIL events calendar for February 2018

About 400 walkers take part in second annual Women’s March on Sitka

Even though they didn’t start advertising the second annual Women’s March on Sitka until the middle of the week, there still were about 400 walkers who showed up on Saturday, Jan. 20, to protest Donald Trump’s America. The crowd was smaller than in the inaugural Women’s March on Sitka last year, but that might be due to limited marketing.

The march was held in conjunction with hundreds of similar marches across the United States, as well as in some international communities. It took place on the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, and most of the marchers protested how Trump’s administration has performed in its first year in office. In addition to protecting women’s rights and limiting sexual harassment, marchers carried signs supported funding Planned Parenthood, protecting immigrants, supporting health care, encouraged protecting the environment, saving the Tongass National Forest, keeping Alaska’s salmon runs sustainable, and even calling for Trump’s impeachment.

The marchers gathered at the Crescent Harbor covered shelter, then marched up Lincoln Street to loop around St. Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Cathedral, then marched back down Lincoln Street to St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church. The crowd was mixed about two-thirds female and one-third male, with several people marching with their dogs. There also were many families marching, including a few three-generation clans.

One difference this year was marchers had to stay on the sidewalk instead of using the street (as they did last year), and that made it a bit harder to count the crowd. The weather was cloudy and in the low-40s (warmer than last year), with a few sprinkles at the end of the march.

A slideshow of scenes from the march is posted below.

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Second annual Women’s March On Sitka set for Saturday, Jan. 20

Last year, nearly 1,000 people gathered for the inaugural Women’s March on Sitka, an event held in conjunction with the 2017 Women’s March on Washington. There were so many people marching in Sitka, they wrapped completely around St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral with most of a full traffic lane full.

This year, the second Women’s March on Sitka takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20. Marchers of all ages and genders will meet at Crescent Harbor Shelter for a march up Lincoln Street, around St. Michael’s and back down Lincoln Street to the See House behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church. This is the same course as last year’s march.

The marchers came out last year for a variety of reasons. Some were protesting the presidency of Donald Trump, especially his disrespect for women and minorities. Others were marching in support of health care and others marched for equality. The crowd was mixed about two-thirds female and one-third male, with several people marching with their dogs. There also were many families marching, including a few three-generation clans. They expect more of the same this year.

“We will join with like-minded women, men, children and pets the world over to let Washington, D.C., know we are still here, and we are not happy!” event co-organizer Kathy Ingallinera said.

After the march there will be an optional interdenominational prayer service and meditation session, plus hot drinks and cookies. Marchers should bring their own signs and wear their pink hats. For more details, check out the event page on Facebook.

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 18

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 1-3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the Sitka National Historical Park‘s totem trails.

Normally, the group picks the trail on the day of the hike, but occasionally a trail is picked before the event. SAIL makes trekking poles available for hikers to use (trekking poles are great on ice or uneven terrain, and they help seniors keep their balance), and hikers are encouraged to bring ice cleats such as YakTrax during the icy months of winter.

SAIL offers Senior Hiking Club events for those age 60 or older once a month, usually on the second or third Thursday. There is a $5 fee, but nobody will be turned away because of finances. The hikes are open to people of all abilities and fitness levels. To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, check out our January 2013 post introducing the club.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, senior and adaptive kayaking trips, senior cycling events, and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Clare Kelly at 747-6859 or email her at ckelly@sailinc.org. The calendar includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• SAIL events calendar for January 2018

Be Safe, Be Seen as you ride your bike or walk during the dark hours of winter

Sitka is lucky because our mild climate allows most of us to bike and walk throughout the winter. But cyclists and walkers also need to take care to make sure they can be seen by drivers, especially since there is so little daylight this time of year. In recent weeks the Sitka Police have recorded several car-walker, car-cyclist, and cyclist-walker collisions, and said visibility was an issue in most of them.

Take a look at the photo above. Can you see the cyclist? This cyclist just rode through one of Sitka’s best-lighted intersections (Lincoln Street and Lake Street), but he’s wearing dark clothes and you can’t see him even though he does have a working taillight. By the way, the cyclist is in the right center of the photo, between the car’s taillights and the fire hydrant, near the Moose Lodge parking lot. There also is a walker ready to cross the street in front of Stereo North, who has some reflective bands on his sleeves but could use a bright jacket.

This time of the year provides special problems when it comes to visibility. In addition to fewer daylight hours, there also are problems with window condensation in cars and the lower sun angles sometimes can be in the eyes of drivers.  When it rains or snows, that also can obscure visibility. Even though pedestrians aren’t in the roads as much as cyclists, they still need to be visible to traffic especially at driveways and other crosswalks.

So how do you make yourself more visible, like the cyclist in the second photo (in the orange jacket with reflective tape)?

First, Alaska state laws require cyclists riding outside the daylight hours to have at least one working headlight that can emit a beam of light for at least 500 feet, a working taillight that can be seen from at least 500 feet, and reflectors (see Page 2). To make themselves more visible and to help light their way, many Sitka cyclists will have more than one headlight, taillight and reflector on their bike.

Next, wear white or bright clothes that can be seen at night. Many Sitka cyclists and walkers have started wearing traffic yellow or traffic orange rain jackets, which are designed to be visible at great distances. Some of these jackets have built-in reflective tape. Other people wear reflective vests, similar to what construction workers wear.

Finally, get some reflective tape and wrap it around your bike frame. You can purchase your own reflective items at most outdoors gear stores in Sitka. The Alaska Injury Prevention Center in Anchorage used to provide free reflective tape by clicking this link (they may not have it available now), but the AIPC website has tips about how to Walk Safe and Bike Safe. The link has a chart showing how reflective tape can increase a person’s visibility, even more so than wearing lighter clothes. If you have kids who walk or bike a lot, put the reflective tape all over their clothes, backpacks and lunch pails. You also can find elastic bands with reflective tape, or reflective tape built into jackets, hats and even shoes.

Remember, we are sharing the roads and so we should do what we can to make it easier for drivers to see us. Not only should we Be Safe, Be Seen, but we also need to follow the rules of the road by riding our bikes on the right side of traffic (ride with traffic, and walk on the left facing traffic) and in a predictable manner.

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets next hike for the afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 4

The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 1-3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 4. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the Indian River Trail.

Normally, the group picks the trail on the day of the hike, but occasionally a trail is picked before the event. SAIL makes trekking poles available for hikers to use (trekking poles are great on ice or uneven terrain, and they help seniors keep their balance), and hikers are encouraged to bring ice cleats such as YakTrax during the icy months of winter.

SAIL offers Senior Hiking Club events for those age 60 or older once a month, usually on the second or third Thursday. There is a $5 fee, but nobody will be turned away because of finances. The hikes are open to people of all abilities and fitness levels. To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, check out our January 2013 post introducing the club.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, senior and adaptive kayaking trips, senior cycling events, and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program coordinator Clare Kelly at 747-6859 or email her at ckelly@sailinc.org. The calendar includes hiking, orienteering, kayaking, and other events for seniors, youth, and the disabled.

• SAIL events calendar for January 2018