Alaska tour-1: Ketchican

The flight from SeaTac to Ketchikan is a piece of cake. Good news from the captain: the weather in Ketchikan is 63° and sunny.

In KTN’s tiny airport terminal, we grab our luggage and find the door marked “ground transportation,” looking for a taxi. There is only a little service road, looking out over a narrow channel of water, with mountains on the other side. I ask someone, where do we find a taxi? “The other side.” Other side of the road? But when we cross, there is only a walkway heading down to the water. It’s a little ferry dock. Oh, and it’s raining. I have plenty of rain gear, stashed deep in my suitcase.

When the ferry is at last packed as tight as a can of sardines, we cross to the other side and I sprint up the walkway to the parking lot, hoping to reach the taxi stand ahead of the crowd. There is one taxi waiting, but it’s reserved. There are no taxis waiting for the arriving planeload. Eventually we persuade the lone cabbie to call the dispatcher for more transport. Eventually we reach our hotel in the center of town. Did I mention it was raining, and that all my rain gear is packed?

Desk phone
Faux-antique phone on hotel desk

The Inn is a jewel of historic preservation, at the edge of the Creek Street time warp. I’ll let the pictures do the talking. The best part for me is that I only have to endure a couple of blocks of tourist-trade shops to reach the trail that goes up into the forest.


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A short hike up the trail leads to a little totem garden
with a spectacular view of distant snowy peaks.

Traditional drums in store

I say tourist-trade shops and you might infer that there is a lot of schlock. There is some, but actually most of the shops have some very nice local (or at least locally-themed) arts and crafts. The $2 souvenir key ring does not obscure the hand-made traditional Tlingit drum, painted by anoted tribal artist, priced at $1200. Overpriced for the tourist trade, but still legitimate.


Saxman totem

We take half a day to visit the famous totem poles at nearby Saxman Village.


If you love fresh salmon, you are in the right place. (Oops, forgot to photograph the plate in the wonderful restaurant). This is a good place to board the small cruise ship for our “Adventure tour.” AND AWAY WE GO…



t-pulling out
The Ketchikan waterfront, as our ship pulls away

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