We finally saw a salmon jumping
Sleeping onboard the ferry was quite pleasant. We both got a great night’s sleep, which was good, since we were awaken with a knock on the door at 4:15 am, and a soft voice telling us that we arrive in Ketchikan in a half hour. The last 24 hours aboard the Taku was very pleasant and very relaxing and a great way to travel.
Driving ashore in Ketchikan at 5 am on a Sunday morning, we found the streets quite empty. Macdonald’s provided our breakfast before we cruised around the city, getting ourselves oriented with our home for the next two days. The scenery was spectacular, driving on the North Tongass Highway toward our reserved campsite, especially since the sun was shining, which is amazing in itself. Ketchikan is the wettest community in North America, receiving an average of 162 inches of rain per year, and everyone told us to expect to be wet.
The Clover Pass Resort is the only private campsite on the Island of Revillagigedo, where Ketchikan is located, and it is 14 miles north of the ferry terminal. We checked into the campground, set up our tent so it could dry and headed off to
explore the island. First stop was the Totem Bight Historic Park where there were many Tlingit (KLINK-it) and Haida (HY-dah) totem poles and a clan house. Reading the commentary boards within the Park, provided us with an education of how tribes were divided in moieties and that the boys lived with an uncle and the girls lived with their mothers and that a potlatch was a festive ceremony usually lasting days, in which the host gained prestige by giving gifts to the attendees.
Driving back through the city was very different this time, as there were now three huge cruise ships parked at the docks and thousands of people walking the streets. To avoid these crowds, we drove straight through town and explored the coast along the South Tongass Highway. Snow-covered mountains loomed over the inlet as fishing boats darted here and there. We passed over the Herring Cove Bridge and saw fish jumping out of the water. There were dozens of Salmon shooting straight up in the air. It was amazing for us, as we had given up any hope of seeing salmon on this trip.
Driving further down the road, there were two beautiful waterfalls that
we stopped to view and snap a few pictures and video of. While returning to town, we stopped at the canopy tours and watched some brave souls riding the zipline through the trees. We had some smoked salmon samples at the gift shop and saw some reindeer in a pen nearby. Dave doesn’t care for salmon, but I think it’s great. He is big into Halibut now, especially here in Alaska.
Dave is all totem poled-out, so when we arrived at the Saxman Totem Park, I got out to see the artifacts while he stayed in the van. One very interesting pole had Abe Lincoln on top of it, but I didn’t get the story behind it. I find the poles very interesting and especially like the stories that they tell. I’ve learned to tell the difference between a raven and an eagle and that a raven is usually the hero and that the eagle signifies peace and friendship. Also the long distance on some pole between the top figure and the lower ones, represents high regard for that top figure.
Finding the highest road in town, we found a scenic overlook and made lunch and enjoyed the
view. We also found steps that went up another couple of hundred feet and climbed them to get some even better views of Ketchikan. We traveled past the road to our campground and went to the end of North Tongass Highway, where we saw First and Second Waterfall Creeks. The water flowing in the First Waterfall Creek is brownish and so is the water at our campground. We are told it is safe and there is no sediment in the water and it doesn’t leave any stains in the sinks or the toilet bowls, but boy does it look disgusting. We finally asked why the water is brown and we were told that it comes out of a pond. Needless to say we did not drink, wash or brush our teeth using their water.
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