I was told by Craig, the seasoned local, that if I could get up to where the old hammer was stuck in the rock and pull it out, i'd be the first to do so in fifty years. I wasn't quite as taken with that as I was simply getting to this place. It was new and exciting.
We set out mid-afternoon on a nice day, driving on a relatively flat dirt road, a rarity for this area. Ketchikan never really had trains, but this was as nice as any old narrow gauge track in Colorado. When we got to the end of the road, I looked ahead, and there, about one hundred yards ahead (right where Craig had said), was the rock. It was perpendicular to us, about fifteen feet tall, twenty five feet deep, and maybe fifty feet wide. It sat on a hill which put it just above the trees, and given our height already, I was already imagining what the view would be from atop.
As my bride and I approached and the sun began to set, we could see the silhouettes of the old hammer on top. It was actually a climbing axe, and I could see that the business end was in the air and the handle was actually embedded in the earth. I wondered how I was going to climb the front of it. Difficult, but not impossible. Suddenly it dawned on me: what was behind this slab? I bushwacked through a short thicket of alders and found a gentle, sandy ramp that climbed the length of the backside.
We scrambled up there. By now, it was dusk, and we stood on top of the giant, sandstone block. We looked down over the city. What was one the small, remote "city" of Ketchikan was now truly a city. The lights on the towers of the bridge across the Narrows flashed brightly against the shadows of the mountains of Gravina Island. The Tower, recently completed, stood over the remodelled Marine View and Tongass Towers. It looked like a cross between the CN Tower in Toronto and the Space Needle in Seattle, it's cream-colored concrete painted with red, blue, and green lights from the low end of the cylinder at it's peak. I retrieved my camera phone from my pocket and snagged a picture.
I leaned over to show my father-in-law what he was looking at, and, as I took my focus from the small screen, realized that the environment had suddenly shifted. Getting my bearings, I found myself in town, in a building under remodelling construction. Jim, an old customer of mine from my days at the sign shop, was there chatting my ear off about how lucky we both were to have had the foresight to buy as much property as we did before the boom. Now things were good, and we were both very successful.
As I woke this morning, I couldn't help but wonder what the future will truly hold for us all. With any certainty, though, what is guaranteed is only limited by what we choose to devote to it.