Between laundry runs, deep cleaning, dry provisioning, boat maintenance, and final checks, we’ve managed to squeeze in some time to explore Ketchikan and the surrounding area.
Ketchikan, a small coastal fishing town, known as the Salmon Capital of the world. We were warned that Ketchikan is rarely dry, so to have the glorious sunshine we did was a complete blessing. Apparently, they experience an average 160inches of rainfall per year!
The town thrives off of tourism. With monumentally large cruise ships docking up every other day, the streets fill with tourists seeing which tacky gifts the other souvenir shops don’t offer. Every business seems to be open for the time frame their in town, and the minute they leave, they shut up shop and the town becomes very quiet.
Creek street, a colourful wooden stilted street towering above the river that hopeful salmon try to spawn in. Sneaky seals know that this is the place to be, awaiting the salmon who are making their way upstream and catching them before they make it. A sad reality to the natural world. What used to be a “Red Light” zone, now a street of businesses and private property, this creek was “where both men and salmon come to spawn – Est.1919”. Having not seen a bear the entire way up the Inside Passage or when we reached Alaska, Ale and Jake were ecstatic to find a black bear getting amongst the buffet beneath Creek Street.
Day off!! Time for some recommendations to be checked off the list.
We explored the island by car, heading North to trek around Ward Lake and Perseverance Lake. Moss draped trees gave off a fragrant smell to the forest as the sun beamed on them. We ventured around a Totem Pole park, with detailed explanations of each of their meanings, owners and the stories attached. Each Totem pole has special meaning, crafted to symbolise something specific to the owner.
With the sun on our side, Jake and I headed into town early to grab some coffee to give us a boost before we began our hike up Deer Mountain. The aim, rather simple, was to find some snow. A 30min walk to the base, we began the ascent up the well marked trail zig zagging up the back of Ketchikan. The undergrowth was spongey, the air was crisp and we were making good elevation. Spying through the trees we could see the busy waters entering and exiting Ketchikan, and really appreciate how large the crew ships were in comparison to other neighbouring vessels. Different animal skat and tracks decorated the path. Blethering away, we were interrupted by the squeaking of two chipmunks running after one another. They bounced and pranced between branches, chased each other around the trunks of the trees, and then scampered off into the canopy above – we wondered what they were arguing over.
Summit. The clouds were rolling over the ridge line, the westerly horizon was pastel blue and inviting.
SNOW! A singular, hollow patch of snow lay accessorising the mountainside. Hollow, we managed to crawl underneath and poke our heads out the top. The glacier-blue underside twinkled in the sunlight, slowly melting with the midday sun. After a quick snowball fight, we made our way towards the ridge line where we stopped for some lunch and watched the clouds roll over the crusts and into the valleys below. Amongst the hillside, we spotted an A-frame bothy (a small hut used for mountain refuge) and went over to explore. Inside, a simplistic rustic interior with room to sleep 4 and a table looking out to the North. With the view of the snow capped ridge lines amongst Alaskan waters, we wished we could stay longer & explore more.