This travelogue is one family's experience in the inland passage in Alaska. To see a photo in a larger size, just click on it.
Our final stop in Alaska was Ketchikan, which bills itseld as the Salmon Capital of the World and Alaska's 1st City. Ketchikan has about 7,500 residents and is the first city of any size in Alaska as you leave Canadian waters. Like the other cities in the Inland Passage, it is accessible only by air or water. As for being the salmon "capital" of the world, I might take the claim more seriously if it were spelled correctly.
When our boat docked in Ketchikan, Teresa and I walked down the pier to the Information Center and were picked up by Family Air Tours, which took us on a seaplane tour of the Misty Fjord National Monument. This shot tells you why the fjord got its name better than any words can describe.
The Misty fjord is absolutely spectacular. This shot shows one of its highlights -- a 3,000 foot wall of granite. Unfortunately, it was covered by clouds, so you can't see it's majestic size. The Misty fjords area was declared a national monument by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. It is about 40 miles east of Ketchikan and encompasses about 2.3 million acres. Given that the area gets an average of about 137 inches of rain per year, it is heavily treed and dotted with numerous fresh-water lakes.
This is another scene from the air as we traveled through the Misty fjord. You can see a small lake at the foot of the granite cliff. Our pilot and Family Air owner, Dave Rocke, is an avid trout fisherman, and became a pilot about 25 years ago to fly people into remote lakes on fishing trips.
This shot was absolutely amazing to see from the air. We approached it from behind the waterfall and first flew over a prstine lake high in the mountains. As we flew past the lake, you could see how the land dropped off and the water from the lake fed the waterfall, which probably dropped about 1,000 feet.
Midway through the trip, Dave landed on Walker Lake, a pristine mountain lake high in the Misty fjords. Dave took this picture of Teresa and me on the pontoon of his Cessna 185, which is smaller than most cars that we own.
Walker Lake has a small islet that was basically a tree-covered rock that was shaped like a dome. Because the water was so smooth, you can see that the reflection on the water created an oblong effect. The mist and clouds from the overcast sky only add to the ambience of being in a place called the Misty fjord.
This view of Walker Lake creates the illusion of a runway so that our plane had a clear pathway to take-off. However, Dave didn't take-off that way for the trip home. He went by the right of the treed-dome in the previous picture. In all, it was a spectacular way to start our trip back through the fjord.
This interestng picture was taken beneath the wing of the Family Air Cessna 185, which stretched over the water. When the light from the sky hit the water directly just beyond the wing, it created a glare on the surface of the water. Where the wing blocked the light, however, there was no glare, allowing us to see how clear the water was in Walker Lake.
On our flight home, we saw a bear frolicking at the edge of a lake, although I didn't get a picture because of the angle of the plane and because it would look like a dot on the horizon. This shot shows the downtown Ketchikan area, which is adjacent to the dock for the cruise ships. As you can see, Ketchikan is another Inland Passage city that is nestled against the mountains.
While Teresa and I were flying into the Misty Fjords, our friends, Gary and Aileen Cordette, were touring the Ketchikan area. Ketchikan is an old-time logging and mining town that dates back to the late 1800s. It originally was settled by the Tlingit Indians, who have lived in the area for generations. One of Ketchikan's major attractions is dozens of totem poles, which are located in area parks as well as in the city itself. This is a shot of one of the many totem poles in Ketchikan. It was taken by Gary Cordette as were all the remaining shots of Ketchikan.
The Ketchikan creek flows right through the center of town. As a result, many of the houses were built near the creek, creating Creek Street. This shot was taken from one of the backs of the buildings, which abut the creek.
This shot shows a statue at the dock area. You can see one of the cruise ships in the background.
You cannot take a trip to Alaska these days without someone making a comment about seeing Sarah Palin. Sure enough, you betcha, one of the shops had this cardboard poster of Sarah next to Gary's wife, Aileen.