An excellent half-mile boardwalk and trail wind up Mt. Dewey (actually more of a hill) from 3rd Street behind the high school. It’s a steep 15-minute climb up to the top, where a platform provides a vantage point over Wrangell. You could probably find a place to camp up here in a pinch.
On a wild stormy night in 1879, John Muir did just that. He also decided to build a huge bonfire atop the hill, however, its flames dancing off the clouds. Muir later wrote, “Of all the thousands of campfires I have elsewhere built none was just like this one, rejoicing in triumphant strength and beauty in the heart of the rain-laden gale.”
To the Native Alaskan people below, however, the fire ignited fears of evil spirits, and as Muir’s partner noted, “the Tlingits ever afterward eyed Muir askance, as a mysterious being whose ways and motives were beyond all conjecture.”
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition