Mrs. Larsen of Kodiak

aoo614.jpgKatmai eruption of 1912 by eyewitness in Kodiak

Mrs Larsen, pictured here, told me the tale of her family when they experienced the Katmai eruption of 1912.

This volcano is just across the Sheilikof Straights about 100 miles distant so they were among the first to experience this mighty eruption. It was twice as powerful as Krakatoa and 10 times the blast of Mt. Saint Helens.

The whole sky became dark and started raining down ash. Mrs. LarsenĀ  and her siblings and a hired man that was staying at their place joined hands and made their way to shelter (miles away over a mountain pass). This was an incredible journey in itself.

Kodiak Island and Afognak to the north were covered in several feet of ash. It made breathing and seeing terribly difficult. Eventually they were rescued by a navy or coast guard vessel. If I remember right they had to walk to Port Lions through the ash led by their hired hand.

To this day if you lift the moss in the forest you will find a thick layer of ash underneath. I wish that I could remember the story better because she and a few others living on the west side of Kokiak were the closest eyewitnesses to one of the greatest volcanic explosions recorded in human history.

Mrs Larsen told me about it some time ago (1980′s) as we sat around eating some smoked salmon she had made. She was a tough lady living out there in Uganik Bay on her own. She had a spark and zest for life.

I wish that I had paid closer attention and wrote down her story then as it was a fascinating piece of history that should have been preserved. Larsen bay on Kodiak was named for her father or grandfather.

Kodiak Alaska – Katmai Eruption

Mar 10, 2006 www.dutchpickle.com

4 responses to “Mrs. Larsen of Kodiak”

  1. Amazing story really – amazing woman Mrs Larsen !

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