Mo & Terry Smedley


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Exploring Ketchikan

Random observations (feel free to skip my musings and go right to pictures, just below):

Books along this trip between the four of us:  "Twilight", "New Moon","Say You're One of Them" (Uwem Akpan), "On the Road" (Peter Egan), "The Fabric of the Cosmos" (Brian Greene), "Merle's Door" (Ted Kerasote).

Found a factory/store in Bellingham making/selling locally-made backpacks and book bags.  I am absolutely rabid about buying things made domestically.  We stopped in here and I got a new backpack, and Mo got a new "purse" of sorts.   Company name is Brenthaven.  Not all Brenthaven products are made in Bellingham - some are imported from China.

Interesting mix of people on board the ferry.  Young and old, but clearly a group not expecting luxury travel.  Lots of Gore-Tex and boots.  I would say (without a lot of surprise) the group was mostly Alaskans heading home.

The Ketchikan downtown "shopping area" is empty at this time of year.  The jewelry and gold stores that follow cruise ship passengers wherever they go are boarded up for the winter, as those merchants head to the Caribbean cruise traffic for the winter.

Traveling around Ketchikan by city bus is very easy.  Runs all the way from Saxman Village in the South all the way to Totem Bight in the North.  For a buck.  We enjoy traveling using public transportation whenever possible.  Somehow this makes me feel more independent and self-reliant.  Driver offered us the Senior Citizen discount.  I have come to terms with this - it's OK!

Non-smoking Washingtonians (the four of us included) forget what it's like to be a non-smoker eating a meal in a restaurant where smoking is allowed.  I was really taken aback to enter a restaurant in Ketchikan and find a partially filled ashtray on the table.  Cough cough, yuk yuk.

We stayed at The Landing in Ketchikan, chosen because it is directly across the street from the ferry terminal.  Here is a view of the Malaspina in port from our hotel. While walking around Ketchikan, Bob found several Safeway grocery carts under water at the marina.   Bob had some fun descending the ladder off the pier to see if he could grab one. Even taxis aren't safe from traffic enforcement in Ketchikan.  There are several interesting aspects to this picture, listed in no particular order:  1) a taxi getting a traffic ticket, 2) Betsy documenting the occasion with her camera, and 3) the telling look on Bob's face while he waits for the picture taking to finish. This is the Westflight building on Tongass Avenue.  The Rayonier offices were located here.  Mo is thrilled to have her picture taken where I used to work.
Sunny days like this aren't all that common in Ketchikan in July, let alone January.  What a great day to explore the town! The obligatory view of Creek Street.  For anyone that's been to Ketchikan on a cruise ship, the most interesting part of this picture is.....the complete lack of people.  We saw no one - not a single person - when we walked through Creek Street on Sunday. Mo at the "world famous" Dolly's House, which (at least according to cruise ship legend) was the last operating "house of ill repute" in Ketchikan. Another view of Creek Street from the West end.
Terry at Creek Street. A trail named for obvious reasons as men traveled to and from Dolly's House. Mo got new shoes just before we left.  The laces gave her fits.  She had to retie them constantly. The Cape Fox Lodge with Deer Mountain in the background.  You can see the funicular (inclined railway) car at the center of the lodge.   We had dinner here on Sunday.

The Cape Fox Lodge funicular that runs from the Creek Street area up to the lodge and restaurant.
Ketchikan is built on the rocky slopes of a mountain.  This kind of construction is the norm. A close up view, showing how the rock is the foundation on which the posts are set. Not quite a totem pole, but fun nevertheless.  Spotted on our walk up to the Cape Fox Lodge from town.
The Totem Heritage Center has some great examples of Coastal Indian totems, but alas it was closed at this time of year. Gotta watch the GPS very carefully in Ketchikan!  Many streets (like E 3rd St in this picture) are nothing more than stairways up the steep hillside. Jewelry stores follow cruise ships wherever they go.  The areas closest to the cruise ship docks are lined with such stores... ...and without exception those stores are boarded up for the winter, while their owners chase cruise ship passengers in the Caribbean.
What follows is a collection of signs and bumper stickers.  They're not all funny, but I found all of them interesting for one reason or another.  "KGB" stands for Ketchikan Gateway Borough, the local government entity.  But still, having the leash laws enforced by the KGB is interesting. No doubt about where many of Ketchikan's citizens make their livelihood. I'd been reading about gravity and Einstein's General Relativity theory on the way up.  So I found this bumper sticker timely, if not humorous. Dogs in Ketchikan are everywhere.  Here is one property owner's sentiments.
No comment needed. Look carefully at the two signs in this picture.  I give up - it's either OK or not OK to have a dog here, and I'll be darned if I can figure out which.  One signs say I get a fine, the other sign asks me to clean up the mess. On a bright, sunny Monday morning, the m/v Columbia, the largest of the Alaska ferry fleet, sits at dock in Ketchikan. We took a hike around Ward Lake, about 8 miles North of town.  Unbelievable weather for January in Southeast.
Ward Lake The trail at Ward Lake Bob and I found a rope swing at the lake.  
  Ouch, that hurts! Documentation. Near Ward Lake, we found a busy beaver building a lodge.
Busy beaver, part 2. The Ketchikan city bus takes you all the way out to Totem Bight State Park.  This totem is a copy of a Tlingit grave marker.  It is the first of many pictures of totems from the Park... ...I've often thought I would like to commission a totem carving for our property.  So the many totem pictures seen here are just ideas for us to consider.   The Wandering Raven pole guards the entrance to the Clan House at the Park. Bob is creating his own totem behind Mo.
Inside the Clan House, there is a totem at each corner.  Protected from the weather, these carvings retain their beautiful coloring. Inside the Clan House. A Clan House totem in natural light. Bob and Betsy at the Clan House entrance.
Of the totems here, I found this Haida carving, the Land Otter pole, the most interesting. Another Haida carving, the Sea Monster pole.  Note the village watchman at the top.  The Kadjuk Bird pole (a Tlingit carving) can be seen in the background at the left. Details of the Kadjuk bird. A Tlingit carving, Raven at the Head of Nass.
Kaat's Bear Wife, a Tlingit carving. Details of the bear at the top of the totem. Thunderer's Pole, a Tlingit carving.