Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Spooky Forest in Ketchikan, Alaska

We had a private tour lined up this morning. Margaret and Mike were off doing another tour, while Jim, Joanne and I met up with Cruin, a local tour guide. Because it was a (gasp!) sunny day in Ketchikan, Cruin asked if we would like to do something different from what was originally planned. Here is our take on local tours: You're the local. Show us what you would like us to see in your city.

So we ended up at Settlers Cove (flyby photo!)...

It was immediately evident that we were in a rain forest...


These are what I call the spooky forests. I always figure if you stand still long enough, you'll be covered in moss!

This seemed like a nice gentle walk...


It was so nice to stroll along and have a chance to appreciate the beauty at our own speed...

How cool...this tree base has split and has a small stream running through it. Nature is so amazing!

This looks like a man rising out of the moss...OK, maybe my imagination was running wild, but you wouldn't catch me in here as darkness was falling!

A lookout along the way...

Our guide, Cruin, leading the way. Yup, he's Scottish...came to Ketchikan as a tour guide and ended up with his future wife taking one of his tours. He is a Renaissance man...a writer, a guide, a lover of nature...an all-around interesting person with a wide knowledge of many subjects.

We stopped at this beautiful stream and had the opportunity to watch the salmon run.

Ketchikan is considered the salmon capital of the world, and at this time of year you can view salmon in many of the streams trying to swim upstream to spawn.


100% of Pacific salmon die after spawning...

Such a peaceful spot...no one people come to Alaska and stay.

Joanne and I giggling while the guys are deep in some salmon talk...

We met very few other people during our walk. It was so lovely...

Carrying on...

Beautiful paths...Cruin felt that it's a bit too manicured, but I thought it was lovely.

And then we had a chance to step down to the shore. It was high tide, so we couldn't walk very far, but you had a chance to appreciate the beauty.


How cute are they? Clearly I shouldn't take photos while I'm walking, but I couldn't bear to delete this one.

A mass of roots and moss...

And mushrooms...

It's obvious that they receive huge amounts of rainfall each year...

Beautiful path...

Joanne signing the guest book...

Another view to the water...

The sun peeking through the trees...I can see why Cruin wanted to show us this site on a lovely sunny day. It wouldn't be quite so nice in the rain!

Cruin had a nice little snack for us...the most delicious salmon and crackers. We didn't have much of a chance to shop in town or we would have gone to find it.

Cruin is a man of many talents. He also makes tools for the carvers of totem poles and has had an opportunity to make his mark on a few of the poles in Ketchikan.

Handmade tools...

From there, we made a quick stop at the Totem Heritage Center...



The Center is really well done and worth the time to explore. We could have easily spent more time there.


These are some of the oldest poles dating back to the late 1800s...



Tongass Island Village during a US government visit as Alaska was being acquired from Russia. Look at the beautiful native dress...


Love these masks so much...


Some of the oldest poles, or what remains of them, preserved behind glass...



There are different kinds of poles...

A master carver would have many apprentices working under his watchful eye. Some of the totem poles could take up to a year to complete...

And with that wonderful day, and thanks to Cruin, we were back at the dock to take the tender ride back to the ship. That was our third visit to Ketchikan and easily the most informative and enjoyable.

We had one more sea day...

And more entertainment...a rendition of The Voice, complete with the turning chairs. The contestants were all passengers...kudos to them for being brave enough to get up there. We were given voting devices to choose our favourite performer.

And with that, our wonderful week was over. We sailed back into Vancouver early in the morning...

Back at the pier...

With a few delays getting off the ship, we were at the airport and saying goodbye to Joanne. Such  a wonderful week with her! Goodbye to Vancouver...

I really, really wanted to see the Rockies as we flew over but I was stymied by the clouds. Oh well...maybe another time.

Thanks to Joanne, Margaret and Mike for a most enjoyable and memorable week!