Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ketchikan, Alaska

Bryan and I spent this last week aboard the Golden Princess sailing through Alaska's inside passage. This specific cruise has been one we've talked about doing for a couple of years now. To have it finally happen this year worked out rather perfectly because we decided to book it as our 20th wedding anniversary celebration. And yes, our anniversary is actually in July....but late May timing (and price) was better and what's a few months here or there, right?

We left from Seattle on Sunday afternoon. After spending all day Monday at sea, I awoke randomly at 5:30 AM Tuesday morning and stepped out onto my stateroom balcony only to find that we were just pulling into Ketchikan. And wow, what luck! Because it was beyond beautiful. Truly, who could've guessed that one of the highlights of my trip would come from (uncharacteristically) being awake at a ridiculously early hour due to a time change the night before. Because me, purposely getting up at 5:30 AM? Come now, let's not be silly....

Fair warning...I'm going to post a ridiculous amount of pictures here. It was just that gorgeous....

Ketchikan is a town made up of 3 different islands. It's known as "the salmon capitol of the world" and has only a little over 8,000 residents. It's charming and rustic and very colorful, as you can see. Did you know that there are a lot of wooden stairs in Ketchikan as the town makes its way up the hillside....and if a staircase has a certain amount of stairs, it is officially declared a street and given a name? Here's an example.

Before we left home, I had researched out all the things to do in each port we were planning to visit. When we got onboard and went to schedule our excursions, Bryan had different ideas. And I'm actually so glad that he did. Rather than "sit and see" sorts of activities, Bryan wanted to "go and do." So instead of visiting the totem pole park (which in all fairness, I'm sure was very cool) we went canoeing on Harriet Hunt Lake.

It was absolutely beautiful and we even saw a few eagles overhead and perched in trees. Once across the lake we docked and were treated to an early lunch of smoked salmon, clam chowder and hot chocolate...all being cooked over a camp stove amongst the trees. While enjoying our food we wandered around a bit...our guides answering our questions, telling us old local stories and pointing out various plants and trees.

After a little while we canoed back across the lake and found jeeps waiting for us. We'd been split up into groups of four to each jeep, the idea being that we'd all take turns driving. The other couple with us, however, had no desire to drive and were perfectly content to enjoy the view from the back seat. So Bryan got to do all the driving up, over and through all those crazy rough and bumpy old logger trails in the Tongass National Forest. Seeing as he is very into jeeps right now (a jeep is what he is planning to replace his little 12-year old Huyndai Tiburon with sometime in the near future) I think he had a lot of fun.
 We stopped a couple of times for photo ops and to switch drivers. (Which of course, we never did....)
We're from Utah, so we weren't as mind boggled by the towering mountains. We live at the base of a huge mountain range. But even still, the trees here were so much more dense, the moss and greenery so much more, And despite our familiarity with the grandeur of mountains, I still found myself in awe of the majesty and beauty of it all.

Shortly after we returned from our canoeing/jeep adventure our ship pulled out of Ketchikan to head to the next port. Because we were cruising through the inside passage of Alaska, there was a lot to see, pretty much always but especially leaving port. Bryan and I hung out on our balcony for quite awhile that evening before dinner. And then later that night (because the sun didn't even begin to set until 10:00) we were rewarded with one winner of a sunset!
  Next up....Tracy Arm Fjord and Juneau
Victoria BC and Ship Life


Mary said...

Holy Wow! What a beautiful place. Love all the pictures. Can't wait for the next installment.

Melissa@thebblog said...

wow! that is a beautiful sunset.

MG said...

Wow...what a fun trip. Looks like a lot of fun.

cedarslodge said...

Everyone needs a vacation at some point in life. Maybe its because of work or lack of fun. It could be due to any stressful situation, or even worse, a dull one.

Shopping in Ketchikan