Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ketchikan - Day 3 - Saturday, June 18, 2011

Our exploring today began about 11:00 after a nice breakfast of omelet and sausage, which I cooked and Juel did the clean-up. 

The mist/cloud is very low first thing this morning over my mountain view. I love that I have this interesting view to sit and watch as I wake up and type.

These float planes are frequently flying over or landing/taking off on the Narrows. We see planes "parked" at houses over on the island. There are more pilots in Alaska than any other state.

I noticed this bird through one livingroom window and quickly grabbed my camera. It is, I believe an eagle. And, as I sit here typing, I just saw another one fly by. This one was much closer and definitely an eagle.

 Ruth was coming to get us at 11:30 but we got impatient and left early, figuring she had to come up the Tongas Highway and would see us, which she did. 

But before Ruth picked us up we had passed the hospital where Juel will work. She starts on Monday, June 20, 2011.

We found a parking place downtown. Town is so quiet today as there are no cruise ship in and none are scheduled to arrive.  When that happens most of the town shuts down. For us, this was a nice quiet time to explore downtown and that is what we did. First we went down to the water.  The water is always an exciting place to be and we got a super surprise.

We saw jellyfish! There were several of these beautifully colored ones. They were right near that ramp in the picture above this one.  We walked down to that ramp and took these interesting pictures of the sea critters.

We also saw these clear jellyfish. It was such a special "bonus" to our day to be able to watch these beautiful creatures.

There were also LOTS of tiny clear jellyfish here at the edge of the ramp. Juel is attempting to catch one. We are going to buy a little net for times like this. Something small that I can keep in my backpack.

Juel was successful after several attempts to catch one. It feels almost like nothing but a mucus blob. After a close look, she placed it back into the water.

These are so beautiful and I took LOTS of pictures of them.  It was hard to choose my favorites to share here.

These two pictures (above and below) were cropped and enlarged. (Richard, this information is especially for you.) These jellyfish did such contortions when they turned to go.  It looked almost like they turned themselves inside out.  I took a long series of pictures as one did this. I am definitely going to go back and see if they are always in this area.

You can see the smaller ones in these pictures and get an idea of the size of the larger ones.

These clear ones are especially beautiful. God sure created some interesting creatures for us to discover and enjoy.

There is always so much interesting activity on the Tongas Narrows.

Here is a barge loaded with those large containers being towed.

This is a tour boat being towed out by a tugboat.

I had read about The Alaska Wild Stunt Show on the internet before we left. It sounded fun, but not enough for the $29 per 20 minute show.  However, they had a special thing going on today since there were no cruise ships in. They did free shows today, taking donations (cash or canned goods) for the Women and Children's Center. So we decided to go and support this cause and get the fun of the show.  Below are some pictures of the set and a couple of the scenes from the skit.

The skit was funny, but I would have been very disappointed to have spent $29 to watch it, but was fine to make a donation to such a good cause.

Not sure what Big Foot was up to as he didn't stop to talk to us.  Never know WHAT you are going to see here, I guess.

We had lunch at a nearby pavilion as they were raising money for the same cause. I had a grilled turkey burger. They had nice help-yourself bar of ketchup, mustard, relish, sliced onions and tomatoes, and lettuce. So I was able to make a wonderful sandwich.

Boardwalk along part of the harbor.

From the boardwalk we could see this crab in the water. Another fun surprise of one of God's creatures. I did crop and enlarge this picture.

This shows a typical road off the main street. All roads go UP! 

We got sunshine! We had blue sky!  It didn't last too long, but it sure brings out the colors. This is part of Ketchikan Harbor.

Me with Creek Street and Deer Mountain in the background.

This is a view of Creek Street from the other end than I shared yesterday.

Fox Lodge is part way up the mountain, so they offer a free tram. They welcome everyone to come and see the lodge, the view, and their totem poles. It is like riding in an elevator. You just get in and push the up button and off you go, seeing a marvelous view of Ketchikan as you go.

A look down from nearer the top.

Fox Lodge's totem poles.  These are Simshim poles - recognized because of the use of only red and black. They also often use buttons in the decoration.

Thought my grandchildren would especially like this one. Many of them have the tongue hanging out. We are sure to learn more about totem poles as the Ketchikan area is famous for having the largest collection of them.

We decided to walk down from Fox Lodge. These wooden steps are just the first part of the journey down.

Part way down we were walking along the road and ran into Jim and Heidi. Jim is an avid birdwatcher and was photographing these baby flickers. We would never have seen them if we had not run into Jim and Heidi.  Thank you, God, for leading us to this special encounter and the chance to witness the momma bird coming to feed her brood.

We continued our walk back down along a pretty creek. Parts of it were over rapids.

We have been told that this creek will soon be filled with salmon. The salmon run starts towards mid-July. I am so thankful for this extended stay here and how much it is going to allow us to see and do.

This, I believe, is the fish ladder I read about. It aids the salmon in the journey up this steam, by helping them over some of the rougher spots. I don't know exactly how it all works, but I guess I will see for myself later as it gets put to use.

Still on our journey down from Fox Lodge we saw this old building a "local" happened to hear us remarking about it.  He told us it was the old hospital.  Juel is sure glad they have a new one.

Back down by the Narrows now, we see that it is raining in the mountains across on the other island.

This picture was taken at the same time as the previous one of the rain in the mountains. I simply turned and faced the other direction.
You can see how quickly the weather changes here.  We carry our rain jackets with us all the time and have put them to use often.

Ketchikan keeps a record of the precipitation. What we call rain, they refer to as "liquid sunshine."

This sign welcomes visitors as they get off the cruise ships. This is their first view of Ketchikan.

The Ketchikan tunnel is through a rock. I read that it is the only tunnel that you can go through, around and over.  Traffic going north goes through the tunnel while traffic coming south goes around it to the left.  It appears there is a road up on top, though I have not yet been up there.

Ruth had dropped us off down town as she needed to get home because she worked this evening.  So Juel and I planned to catch a bus home.  This was not as easy as it looked.  It seemed like we were seeing buses all the time and we had a bus schedule.  However, we couldn't figure out how to read the schedule, so we started walking. We were told we needed to catch a green line bus.  When we finally saw one it stopped at a bus stop about half a block from us and didn't wait. So we walked some more. It is a little over two miles from downtown to our home. We were less than half mile, I think when we just couldn't walk anymore so we found a bus stop and sat down. We had been walking most of the day (since 11:00 and it was now nearing 8:00)! That is much of 9 hours of being on our feet.  No wonder my feet are getting anxious to get these shoes off.  Finally a bus came and we got on.  Now we did know that the green line bus comes right up Carlanna Street (which is one of those UPHILL streets off Tongas).  All we could think of is that we would have to walk up that street.  But the bus driver did tell us that if we rode the bus as far as WalMart, he turns back to go downtown.  On this part of the route he does go UP Carlanna.  So we decided that that was what we would do.  However, after a few minutes the bus pulled into the hospital and we decided since we had caught our breath we would walk from there.  We cut through the hospital. The bus stops at the front and we went out the back through the emergency entrance.  From there we can cut over to Carlanna, but we are half way up.  We did make it home, but two very tired ladies.  

Oh, I forgot to tell about where we ate dinner.  It was a little place down town called Burger Queen.  It looked like a rather dumpy place but a lady we asked about places to eat said that the locals eat there often.  So we went.  The food was good, but not cheap, and the place was it was a decent meal, but we will not likely eat there again.


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