As previously stated, I took a two week Alaska cruise recently. This might just be my new favorite place. I knew I’d enjoy myself but was completely in awe of the untouched beauty present in so much of this vast state.
We boarded the ship on a sunny Monday in Seattle, Washington. Not knowing what to expect, we headed out for about two days at sea, reaching Ketchikan as our first port of call. As we pulled in to port, we were able to see the Alaskan houses along the shoreline and even a deer swimming in the ocean (a fisherman was trying to heard it back to shore as we passed).
In Ketchikan, we had scheduled a Float plane tour through the cruise line of the Misty Fjords. I had never been on a plane that small before but was pleasantly surprised at how smooth the ride was. We headed off on a shuttle to Taquan Air and were given a brief history of Ketchikan on the way! It’s a beautiful, colorful town full of plenty to do!
As we reached the lobby we went over safety and then headed out to the planes! They had plenty lined up but we were the only ones there at the time. We were loaded in to the plane based on weight balance. I ended up in the middle of the plane by the window. As soon as the pilot asked for volunteers for “co-pilot” my boyfriend immediately ditched me and headed to the front. As he LOVES airplanes, I let it slide. 😉
Pretty soon we were loaded and ready to head out! I didn’t know what to expect taking off from the water, but it felt almost the same as a normal-sized jet. We were in the air in no time and heading past downtown Ketchikan.
There was a guide explaining the area over the headphones while in the air with interjections from the pilot now and then. We learned about the wilderness surrounding Ketchikan as well as it’s native wildlife. As we approached the Misty Fjords we had some extra time and were able to tour around more than usual.
It was absolutely beautiful and the tour included landing on a secluded lake. I feel as though I had never been in such a serene, quite place before. We climbed out onto the floats and were able to take pictures and look around for a few minutes before taking off again.
After our flight adventure, we headed back to town and over the the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. Even though it was SUPER cheesy, it was cool to see all of the amazing feats these men can pull off — running on logs, climbing, chopping, you name it!
We were split in to teams and were able to cheer for our lumberjacks the entire time. They won points and told jokes, making sure the crowds had a good time. We certainly did! Anything that pulls from the history of a location I’m visiting is interesting to me! One of the lumberjacks actually came up from Seattle to Ketchikan on our ship. He gave a talk onboard and even had other guests throwing axes with him.
After the show we headed over to Creek Street, the Red Light district of Ketchikan. We visited the house of Dolly, one of the most famous women of the night in Ketchikan’s history. She lived on a colorful street, now full of tourist shops and restaurants. Her house was full of secret doors and even a “Married Man’s Trail” outback for the discretion of the men going and coming to her house. We were able to see the application she used for the girls wishing to work for her as well as the rooms where the magic happened. Coincidentally (or not so much), the pastor lived right next door and was trying to clean up Creek Street at that time in history.
Finally, we visited the Totem Heritage Museum. Although we didn’t have time to go farther out to the Native Village, we were able to view many traditional totems in this museum and learned the meaning behind their carvings. They could be a tribute to a great leader who had passed or to mark the wealth of a family. Different totems hold different meanings for the Native Alaskans. Traditionally, they were left to rot away where they were posted.
Worn out but happy, we headed back to the ship using the Married Man’s Trail back to downtown Ketchikan. Weaving in and out of tourist shops we finally reached the line to board the ship. Ketchikan was a beautiful, colorful town with so much history behind it and it’s people. Excited to see more of Alaska, we headed back to our suite to ready ourselves for our next adventure in Juneau.