Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ketchikan (The Great Pacific Northwest Adventure of 2017)

The first port of call on our Alaskan cruise was Ketchikan, the south-easternmost city in the state.  The city is known as the 'Salmon Capital of the World', for its many Native American totem poles, and for the Creek Street area, which in the first half of the 20th century was a red-light district.  Now it's an arts and crafts shopping area. The buildings are built on stilts over a beautiful creek.

Creek Street buildings
This may be the only time we get to Alaska, so to make the most of our time in the ports Hubby Tony and I purchased tours through the cruise line. In Ketchikan the tour was a walk at a rain forest sanctuary.

This was the only day we got rain--a fine mist.  I left the ship wearing a rain coat, but when we got off the bus at the sanctuary I was a little concerned that if the rain started coming down harder the phone and camera in my purse would get wet.  Before we started our walk the guide offered plastic ponchos.  Tony and I took advantage of them.

Stylish, right?
After we got off the bus we divided into groups of approximately a dozen.  Each group went with a different guide.  The walk on the gravel trail was less than a mile, but took almost an hour.  I was surprised to learn that this area of Alaska was a coastal temperate (as opposed to tropical) rain forest. The guide pointed out the different trees and plants. We saw banana slugs and evidence of large mammals.  Eventually the trail left the forest and ran through an elevated boardwalk over an area of grassy wetlands.  The area contained a salmon hatchery; I learned that salmon born there are imprinted to return to the same place to spawn.  We saw several eagles, and an aerie.

The sanctuary used to be a logging area, and some of the sawmill buildings are still in place.  One of them held a small raptor center, where we got to see several birds up close.  In another building a Native totem pole carver was hard at work. Examples of his finished poles were on display outside the sanctuary's gift shop.

Totem poles

Officially, the tour bus was supposed to drive us back to the ship.  However, when the driver asked if anyone would like to get off on the edge of Creek Street (several blocks away from the dock) most of the people took advantage of the offer.  Tony and I browsed through some shops, bought some salmon to bring home, then walked back to the ship for lunch.

This was a great way to start the trip to Alaska.

public art outside the port

Five years ago today: Sweltering Stroll


  1. Wonderful start to the trip thanks for sharing!

    1. You're welcome! It's nice to relive our trip by writing it down.

  2. That is such a huge ship. You're seeing so much.

    1. The ship IS huge. Just like a floating city.

  3. Glad you got off at Creek Street, it was a cute little town. That was the only day we got misted on too (while off of the ship).

    1. It was cute, wasn't it? I've talked to people who said they had rain the entire week, so I guess we both got lucky.