Wrangell to Ketchikan

Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Ketchikan, Alaska, United States
Had to be at the ferry station by 4 am; yuck way too early to get up.
The ferry was late, had to wait for another boat that had trouble backing up. Ended up being about 45 minutes late when they started loading everyone on. They didn't take the usual time with the RV and the mud flap bar got bent.
What a shock; a clear day with no rain. The scenery was good—spruce-covered mountains and water. Saw a couple of Dahl dolphins.
                                        KETCHIKANAugust 27-31
CAMPGROUND:  CLOVER PASS RESORT & RV PARK is about 15 miles from the city on a beautiful cove. We are parked right on the cove with the boat dock in front of us; spectacular view.  It rained most of the time, but it was always fun watching the boats coming and going. Spent lots of time just sitting enjoying the water. One day a seal kept popping its head up right in front of the RV.  A seal, eagle, crane, and lots of gulls frequented the water in front of us; amazing how entertained we were.

Love this campground, not only for the view but also the people staying here. Several of the people stay here all summer just to fish; they bring freezers and fill them with halibut and salmon. One couple gave us a can of the smoked salmon that they made; what a professional setup they have! Quite interesting talking with them. 
Randy tried fishing from the dock but no luck. 
The first night was the most vivid sunset we've ever seen—all kinds of red in the sky reflecting pink in the water.

What a wonderful location to end our time in Alaska!
                                                     CITY AREA:
Visitors’ Center
is right on the cruise ship docks and has all the vendors trying to sell their attractions. They had a good brochure for a walking tour of downtown. It was the normal drizzle rain so we did the walking tour of the city in the car. 
Creek Street is the most recognized spot in Ketchikan; lots of interesting shops. 
Ketchikan Creek & Salmon ladder thousands of salmon coming up the creek.
Fish-n-chips from a locally owned vendor, which was very good. 
 Misty Fjords National Monument - Day two and no rain; decided to do a flight-seeing tour. After talking with several different companies, went with Taquan Air's two-hour trip. Watched a short film about safety and the plane ride. There were only four of us plus the pilot. Flew over the tree-covered mountains with lakes—no beautiful blue-green lakes like we thought we’d see.

He landed the plane on a lake and we all got out on the float to enjoy the view and serenity of being in such a remote place. Hoped we’d see some wildlife; only an eagle in a tree. Yesterday the pilot saw a bear with two cubs—we always seem to go the day after they see all the wildlife. The flight back was pretty much the same—we did go by the pinnacle island that is shown in all the pictures. There weren’t any impressive waterfalls. There was a lot of turbulence, but the day was unusually clear for this area and no rain. This trip didn’t impress us very much.
Tongass Forest Service had trail maps; they said the black bears are not a problem. Ok then we'll go for a hike.
Ward Lake nature trail had interpretive signs explaining the features of the area and the wildlife. The trees are huge; many have fallen and the root system was amazing. Lots of salmon coming up the creek and into the lake. Nice walk around the lake; even though it rained for half the walk.
Totem Bight State Historical Park had a short trail through the woods to a clan house. The Visitor Center had a great brochure explaining all the totems. There was a very interesting area where the plants are all labeled with an explanation of how they were used for medicinal purposes. Next door was a trading store with a carver’s workshop and more totems.
                                             TONGASS HIGHWAY
On a day it wasn't pouring rain, drove the highway from one end to the other. Lots to see:
Great waterfall toward the end of the South Tongass Hwy.

Saxman Totem Park had about 30 totems and a clan house. Talked to a Tlingit lady and she introduced us to Nathan Jackson, a Tlingit artist. He showed us pictures of some of his totem carvings.
Settlers Cove at the north end of the highway was beautiful.

Lower Lunch Falls Loop Trail nice boardwalk with steps leading down to the beach where all the salmon were going up the creek.
On our last day here, the sun finally came out, and there was even blue sky. Perfect for going on the Aleutian Ballad, which was on the "Deadliest Catch" tv show.

There were three Bearing Sea fishermen that talked and demonstrated different types of commercial fishing gear. The boat went out to a fishing/crab area, and they put out the long line for catching fish and the crab traps; then they pull up other ones. When they pulled the long line, there were several different kinds of fish on it. There were two different kinds of crab traps; the one for the king crabs weighed 700 pounds. They pulled up 3 different kinds of crabs. Seeing the process from beginning to the end on a real working boat was fantastic. Loved this trip!
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