Alaska Cruise: Ketchikan

Well here it is already, my last post on our cruise to Alaska with our final stop at Ketchikan!

Ketchikan is in fact, the first city you would normally encounter cruising north into Alaska’s Inside Passage.  Our itinerary however, took us to Juneau first, then to Glacier Bay, followed by Sitka and lastly to Ketchikan.  Of the three cities we visited I think Ketchikan is the most colorful of them all.

And the rainiest, it turns out.

202 inches in 1949?  That my friend, is some serious rain!

And then there’s this, taken from the ‘Alaska Cruise Handbook,’ by John Upton:

“Ketchikan visitor to child: How long has it been raining?

Child: I don’t know;  I’m only five.”

So yes, it was raining in Ketchikan and we pulled out our umbrellas and explored the town on our own. I headed for colorful Creek Street, a historic boardwalk along the banks of Ketchikan Creek .

Creek Street used to be the red light district of this rough and tumble fishing and logging town. Its colorful buildings now house shops, art galleries and restaurants. Salmon still swim upstream in the creek to spawn.

Most of the sawmills in Ketchikan have closed down but you can still see the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show on the pier. The show is fun and also demonstrates serious logging skills by young athletes.

We finished up our shopping before returning to the ship to start the journey home. The next two days we would cruise south under overcast, but beautiful skies.

While walking the promenade deck, or gazing out the window from our balcony I liked to watch the sea, hoping to catch more of this.

And this.

No, not a sea monster.  A humpback whale!  Yes, we saw them several times on our journey and every time it was a thrill!

After a week of sailing we arrived back in Seattle, happy to be home again but also happy to have finally seen Alaska.  In fact it left us hungry for more.  And though I can now cross Alaska off my list, I’m sure we’ll be back someday to see more of this wild and beautiful state.

~  Susanne

Fourteen States to Go and Countdown to Alaska!

I never intended to visit all fifty of these United States of America but once I realized I’d already made it to thirty-six of them, the remaining fourteen seemed a worthy goal. What are those states you may wonder?  Well they are last for a reason.  Most of them appear on someone’s list of least visited states (with the exception of Alaska, my apologies to them.) Here they are by region.

The Far West

  • Alaska – That big beautiful icebox up north.  I’m from Seattle so I have no excuse.  I mean come on, it’s just up the coast from here. I’m a bit late, but I’ll finally check it off the list when we set sail for the Inside Passage soon!  (Yes, it’s my first cruise too.)  I plan to take way too many pictures and hope to share the best with you.  A bit more on that later.

The Middle West

  • North Dakota –  A great place to be from, my mother in law used to say.  She should know. Born and raised in the small town of New Rockford, she moved to Seattle during the War to work at Boeing.  She met her husband and the rest is history; rather good history it turns out for me. I’ve already been to the best of the Dakotas but I hope to see this one someday too, if only on the way to somewhere else.
  • Nebraska –  Because it’s there, and like every state, has something worth seeing, like landmarks from the Oregon Trail (Chimney Rock, Scott’s Bluff.)  And for what it’s worth, my dad was born there.
  • Iowa –  ‘You really ought to give Iowa a try!’  this from my favorite musical, ‘The Music Man.’  So I’ll try. I really will.
  • Oklahoma –  Another one of my favorite musicals.  I’m afraid I expect it to look like the movie and will be disappointed. (And not to mention, they took our basketball team.)

Great Lakes Region of the Upper Midwest

  • Michigan – It’s easy to forget Michigan, as I almost did!  You might think only of Detroit and who goes vacationing there, am I right?  But look a little closer and you will discover the Upper Peninsula and Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior.

The Northeast

The remaining northeastern states are small and off the beaten path so I will group them together. They also have something to offer in the way of quaint towns, fall color and another National Park – Acadia, in Maine.

  • Maine 
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • Rhode Island

The Deep South 

A whole different culture to be experienced and explored. If our cruise to Alaska goes well, we may try another one down the mighty Mississippi and tackle a few of these at once.

  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana

There you have it, a list of states I need to visit to see all fifty.  I admit some of them will be challenging.  Hopefully I won’t lose my resolve!

I’ll start with the easiest first, the great state of Alaska, by cruise through the Inside Passage.  Itinerary includes Glacier Bay National Park, and stops in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan.  Stay tuned for that!

~ Susanne