Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Welcome to Ketchican, the rain capital of North America.  No, no, not just Alaska, not just the United States, but the entire continent of North America.  They told us it rains on average 260 days a year. And someone thought this was a great stop for a cruise ship?  It must be because Ketchikan is also the salmon and totem pole capital of the world as well.

We were so incredibly luckily to have some of the most fabulously cooperative weather our entire trip, so I guess we can't really complain that it rained on the last day.  But this was not just normal rain.  It felt like what typhoons must be like.  We walked around the town for all of 10 minutes and were soaked above the knee.

Our final excursion wound up being canceled because of the terrible conditions.  We had planned a boat trip and wildlife tour of Misty Fjords National Monument, part of the 2 million protected acres of Tongass National Forest.  Hard for us not to be disappointed after reading this description: "Escape to this awe-inspiring jewel amidst Alaska's natural wonders. Only accessible by floatplane or boat, this incomparable natural masterpiece is nature at its most dramatic, boasting towering mountaintops, rushing waterfalls, fjords, glaciers and lakes that have to be seen to be believed."  Yet I'm sure Joseph was secretly thanking the weather gods.

We made our way instead to Saxman, one of the three local totem parks located within a native village.  It includes a clan lodge and the shed of a master carver.

The carvings and colors of the totem poles are really quite impressive.  I'm sure the stories they tell are phenomenal, including the one that would explain why Abraham Lincoln is standing on top of one.  The backdrop, even on a stormy day, isn't too shabby either.

Thank goodness for the ponchos the cruise ship gave out, and for the gift shop, for a little respite from the rain!  Side note to Ketchican: your bus stops need better shelter from the elements.

Back in town we walked all along Creek Street, an old red light district that has been transformed into  an eclectic shopping area.  From the footbridge along the suspended boardwalk we had fantastic views of huge salmon swimming and leaping upstream to spawn!

And with that, we headed back to Vancouver, and on back home.  But there's one more post coming before vacation pics are over :)

1 comment:

Rgutro said...

Wow - How awesome that you got to experience that! Looks like an amazing trip you'll never forget.