Monday, June 12, 2017

North to Alaska: Cruising the Inside Passage: Ketchikan

I've always wanted to go to Alaska. My husband will say that I've always wanted to go everywhere. Cruising makes a lot of things affordable and easy that would be expensive and arduous otherwise. Though, in this current atmosphere airline travel is certainly arduous enough for any would be adventurer and we had a harrowing time trying to get to Vancouver to embark on our ship, the Celebrity Millennium.  If you have ever wondered what a travel agent is good for, now that you can book everything yourself, you should know that we would have missed our ship had ours not been working tirelessly on our behalf all along the way.

Once we stepped on the ship all the stress and worry melted away. We ran into our friends and fellow travelers, The Travel Bully and The Food Maven, straight away and the festivities began. The next day was a sea day which meant relaxing in the indoor heated salt pool and hot tubs.

Our first stop was Ketchikan, or as my husband likes to call it Catchmeifyoucan. Like all the towns we visited including Seattle, this town was thrown up to make money off the gold rush. All during this trip I was reading a book, Mad Rush for Gold. It's the true account and tragic tale of a group of stampeders. As we went from place to place on this trip it was clear that people had no idea about the landscape they would encounter or the hardships they would endure. The landscape of each place was at once breathtaking and unforgiving. The adventurers who came to this area got much more than they bargained for in the way of hardships but very little gold.

After listening to all the stories it basically comes down to this: Alaska was founded by fortune seekers of all kinds, from prospectors to prostitutes. Throw in the swindlers and scammers and it's quite a colorful narrative. But of course, there were already people living there when the Gold Rush started. Ketchikan is home to the Totem Heritage Center. The museum houses authentic totems and covers the history and cultural significance of these Alaskan treasures to the indigenous people.

We enjoyed a little nature walk on what is clearly an easy and beneficial trail to be on. We couldn't resist taking our husbands' picture under this sign. Notice how happy they look. You're welcome, guys.  

 When you read about the history of this area once the stampeders showed up it's refreshing to see a church. Whoever built it had his work cut out for him. Later when came across a brothel that's a museum. Maybe I should say a museum that used to be a brothel, complete with tours but not demonstrations. 

There was good shopping in this area and I bought my grandson a present. It's an aviator hat, but you'll have to wait until he gets here to see it. We also bought salmon and Ulu knives here. I have used mine every day since I got home.

There is a fish ladder here in the creek here. There are several totems around town and the scenery is breathtaking in every direction, but it is remote. The easiest way to get there is by boat or plane. The very best way to get here is by cruise ship. Alaska has been on my list since I was a kid. It did not disappoint and I'll be sharing more about it in the next couple of posts.

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