Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Ketchikan was our last sightseeing port of call before heading south through the rest of the inside passage to disembark in Vancouver.  As we made our approach to the dock, there were sights everywhere which indicated how important the aviation and marine modes of transportation are to the life of these Alaskan cities and towns.  Today the city relies on the fishing and tourist industries for its economic survival. It  is called the Salmon Capital of the world. As in the other ports of call, the cruise ship docks were fully occupied.

After reviewing the things to see and do in Ketchikan, we decided that we would see this city on our own without any guides.  The area is relatively small and is the most densely populated city in Alaska. One of the must see attractions is the standing totem poles,  Ketchikan has the most of these poles in the entire world.   A quick stop at the visitor's center on the pier confirmed that we could take a city bus for one dollar to the state totem park about ten miles out of town.  The state park is actually located in a rain forest with examples of many types of totem poles and a native Indian Tingit clan house.  The house is supported in the corners by totem poles.

Upon returning to town, we visited one of the more colorful historic districts of town -Creek Street.  The early settlement of Ketchikan was centered on the fishing and lumber industry.  In order to keep the less savory elements of adult entertainment under control, the city mandated that all of the designated businesses be located along the creek.  Today there are still reminders of those wild years to be seen.  The Creek District today is all tourist attractions, including Dolly's house.  Dolly is the most well know of the "sporting ladies" who made their living here.  After working her trade in several other towns, Dolly settled here in 1919 and continued to work out of her Creek Street home until the late 1940's.  She continued to live in her house until 1973, when she became too ill to live alone.  She died at the ripe old age of 88.

We then took a walking tour of the downtown area and a final stop at the federal discovery center where there was displays of the native cultures and the early years of European settlement efforts in fishing and lumber. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Our next port of call was Juneau, the state capitol.  The most remarkable thing about this city is the fact that you can only get in or and out of the state capitol by boat or plane.  It is built at sea level with high mountain ranges completely surrounding the city.  Otherwise, we found this to be the least remarkable place we have been in Alaska.  Like Skagway, much of its income is derives from the tourist trade, mostly from cruise ships.  When we arrived, we found the port virtually full of cruise ships.  

When we disembarked, we had to walk the gauntlet of tour operators lined up in small booths on the pier head.  It reminded us of the red light district of Amsterdam.  When we stopped to chat with some of them, I mentioned this fact.  They just laughed and said that they had heard this before.

The downtown area is just off the piers and an easy walk.  There were lots and lots of gift stores among the few buildings dedicated to the workings of the state capitol.  We walked the streets and followed some locals into a coffee shop for a caffeine fix.  Anneke was pleased to find that they made a very nice cup of cappuccino that rivaled the artists onboard ship.

After quickly getting our fill of the shopping delights, we visited the state museum which is devoted to the native cultures of Alaska.  This was an interesting look at the people who lived in this wild land for thousands of years.