Friday, June 24, 2011

Cruising to Alaska - Part 2 - Ketchikan

On Monday, we arrived at our first port, Ketchikan, Alaska. I think this was my favorite of the cities we visited. Ketchikan was absolutely beautiful.

Ketchikan is a rain forest. They get close to 140 inches of rain every year. It rained on us a tiny bit while we were there, but not enough to even get wet. All that rain means that everything is incredibly green and beautiful. Another interesting thing about Ketchikan is that it is on an island that is mostly solid granite. Our tour guide said that in most areas there is only a couple of inches of top soil. Because of this, most of the houses in Ketchikan are built right into the side of the mountain.

I loved the moss growing on the top of this building, and you can see how it is built right into the mountain.  Alot of the houses in Ketchikan were very colorful. I loved that.

The first thing we did in Ketchikan was go on a Duck Tour. It was not the most exciting thing, but we got to see and learn a lot about the city, so I really enjoyed it.

The kid's got duck whistles that kept them entertained.

Kirk didn't get a duck whistle, but still had a good time.

The tour took us around the city and then into the water.

It was fun to look at all the boats. Fishing and tourism are the two main industries there, so there are a lot of boats. People also use boats just to get around. There is another island right across the water from Ketchikan and many of the kids on that island go to school in Ketchikan. Our guide was telling us how the mom's will "boatpool" there kids to school every day, sometimes in terrible weather and huge waves. It is such an interesting way of life.

The salmon weren't spawning yet when we were there, so we didn't see any salmon or bears, but we did see a lot of bald eagles.

This one is an immature bald eagle.

There are also a lot of float planes there. Everything they need has to be either boated or flown in.

After the tour, we went to the Lumberjack Show. It was cheesy and very touristy, but was still really entertaining.

After that, we had a little bit of time to wander around the city. But, by then the kid's were tired, so before long we headed back to the boat.

One thing that Ketchikan is known for is having the largest collection of standing totems in the world. We actually didn't have time to go to any of the areas that have a lot of totems, but we did see a few in town, like this eagle totem.

Another interesting tidbit about the town. Because it is built on rock, a lot of the houses are not accessible by roads. Instead, the city builds staircases to give access to the homes. The staircases are actually considered roads. If you look closely at this picture (click on it to make it bigger) you can see the street sign on the staircases. The city maintains the staircases and keeps them free from snow and debris.

I took this picture as we were leaving Ketchikan. I was amazed at how steep that road is.

It was a little sad to say goodbye to Ketchikan. All in all, we had a great day in a really wonderful city.

1 comment:

  1. Wow what a beautiful place and so unique! It's amazing how people adapt to their surroundings...although I'm not sure I'd want to lug groceries up those stairs!!