Saturday, January 25, 2014

Jackass Pass

  The picture in the upper photograph is of some stairs at the top of Hill Street that connect to the upper road. I think it's Douglas Drive, but I'm not certain. I seldom go up there and never pay any attention to the street names. When we first came to Hoonah, there were no street signs; everyone just kind of knew what street they lived on I guess. Strangers to the area could be lost for days trying to find where someone lived. To this day most of us still don't have numbers on our houses. We live at 265 Hill Street. It used to be 73 Hill Street I believe, but for some unknown reason it was changed. I guess it doesn't really matter. Most of the folks in town know where I live if they need to see me. Anyway, back to the stairs. For as long as I can remember the stairs have always been known as Jackass Pass. I have no idea why. To the best of my knowledge there have never been any mules or donkeys here. I checked on line and the definition of a jackass is a male donkey; also a foolish or stupid person; a blockhead. I love that word- blockhead. It's almost as good as buffoon. While there may not be any mules running up and down the stairs, I don't doubt that there have been a number of jackasses, as in blockheads, who have availed themselves of the stairs. When I climbed up them to get these pictures the other day I noticed that folks are still drinking halfway up and depositing the bottles in the brush down below. I would suggest to the city that they put trash cans in the vicinity, but I doubt that anyone would use them. If they don't care where they throw their trash now, I doubt that having a can to deposit it would make a difference- the jackasses. The stairs have been the scene of several unpleasant experiences that I'm aware of. It runs in my mind that quite a few years ago, shortly after we moved to town, there was a stabbing at the top of the stairs. I believe it was murder, but I don't think the perpetrator ever got convicted. Last year Walter Lindoff was attacked by a sow Brown Bear with a cub at the bottom of the stairs. There was a lot of brush and Alder trees all over the hillside and the surrounding area. Shortly after the attack one of the native organizations came through with brush cutters and cut down all the growth so that any bears in the area would be exposed. It doesn't look nearly as nice, but it's  no doubt a lot safer. Aside from providing a way to get to the upper road, the stairs also serve as a great aerobic exercise platform. I'm not sure how many steps there are or how steep the incline is, but I promise you, if you go up and down them ten times a day, you could probably comfortably afford to eat a doughnut or two every day without too much fear of putting on the pounds. Bob and Glenda Hutton recently embarked on an exercise program that entailed a number of trips up and down the stairs in preparation for a vacation that involved climbing a mountain. They might have been going to Machu Picchu, I'm not sure. That's a little too ambitious for me. I could stand to lose a few pounds-or maybe more than just a few- myself. Perhaps I should start climbing the stairs more often myself. Then they might become known as Heart Attack Pass instead.

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