Friday, August 8, 2014

Eklutna, Alaska

The small Village of Eklutna, Alaska lies about 25 miles north of Anchorage. It is the oldest Dena'ina village still inhabited in the Anchorage area and dates back about 
800 years.

Today Eklutna has only about 35-70 full-time residents left of the original hundreds living there less than 100 years ago, but tourists visiting the St. Nicholas Cemetery are in the 10-20 thousand range per year.

Want to know more?
St. Nicholas Church - Eklutna, Alaska
St. Nicholas Church is a blend of traditional Athabascan respect for spiritualism and Russian Orthodox religion.
The Dena'ina People believe that the spirit lingers for 40 days & nights, hovering above the grave. 
Therefore a house is built to accommodate the deceased person & their possessions. 
A favorite knife, gun, books or other items are placed inside with the spirit.

Sign in front of St. Nicholas Church - Eklutna, Alaska

Spirit Houses in St. Nicholas Cemetery - Eklutna, Alaska
Each small structure offers a resting place for those that have gone before. The colors represent the different clans. The elaborate decorations reflect the grief of the builder for a particular spirit. A house within a house represents a mother and child's death. A house with a fence around it is for someone who no longer lived in the village. 

You can see the Spirit Houses in the St Nicholas Cemetery on a guided tour for a small fee.

The Eklutna Lake area also houses a power plant and is the source of Anchorage's water supply. 

The area is a scenic getaway - only about a 45 minute drive from Anchorage.

You'll also find Eklutna Campground here, with over 50 camping sites, water, picnic tables, latrines and fire pits. There is a 15 site overflow also. For more information:

You can rent kayaks and paddle along the lake to view Mt. Bold or, further down, the magnificence of a glacier. Lifetime Adventures Alaska offers kayaks, bikes and camping equipment.



So, next time you're looking for something to do in Alaska, check out Eklutna!

Thanks for stopping by --- see you next time!
 --- Jae


DeNise Woodbury said...

I didn't know some of that! thanks-Hummm, ice cream ?

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Nice post, Jae! I haven't been to the village in a while but the campground nearby is one of my favorites.

Angelina Barbin said...

I have been to Eklutna Lake twice with my family to go camping but didn't know about the village. I am so glad you wrote about it and the cemetery. it sounds like visiting there would be a fun day-trip for my family.

Jae Awkins said...

Thanks for reading & commenting, Everyone!