It can be difficult to find a flat spot to put a house on in Southeast Alaska. For years here houses were perched on top of pilings, somewhat ignoring the terrain beneath. Now, with lovely large yellow and orange machines, contractors level the earth in a complicated process that we simply call 'site preparation.' Creative use of local materials can make site prep much nicer.
My sweetie told me that stackwalls are not something that you see everywhere, so I hope that you find this interesting.
The angle of repose of gravel or crushed rock can create a terrible waste of space. Luckily for Wrangellites, much of the island is made up of slate that cleaves nicely into stackwall material. Several local contractors have become artists at using excavators to build stone retaining walls.
It's January - an unusually un-snowy January - so I can't show you how lovely some of the stackwall gardenscaping is in the summer, but it is easier to see the rock work this time of year. These are rugged, Alaskan stones that complement their wild surroundings.
In the little break in the stackwall above is this...
I'm in love with these stair steps. Bounded by massive stones, a waterfall of plants spilling down them, and accented with rich bits of moss, I just want to sit on these steps and read a book. When it is warm again, of course.
Over time the stackwalls grow a patina of moss and lichen as the forest takes them back into it's fold.
This is the preferred material for sea walls here, too.
If you want a different look we can rustle you up some rounded glacier rocks. I wouldn't recommend them for those near-vertical sea walls, but they are a fun touch.
I raise a glass of wild blueberry juice to all of those who use local building materials!
More cool stuff around Wrangell:
- Petroglyph Beach and Beachcombing Treasures
- Canoes Landing for Shakes Island Rededication
- Shakes Island Rededication
- Giving Shelter
- Burning Down the House
- Tent City Days!
Other towns in Southeast Alaska: