Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Alaskan Cruise - Ketchikan!!

Our first port was Ketchikan... a charming town on an island that is largely set aside as a National Forest. As a matter of fact, I was told that no development is allowed any further than a mile away from the shoreline. You can see in this picture that the rooftops don't go too far up the side of the mountain (and you can still see the tops of the ships in the water on the shoreline).

I spent an hour or so wandering around the town taking pictures and shopping. There were so many random treasures to capture!

This area pictured below is called Creek Street (no street, really, just a boardwalk-type sidewalk running along one side of the creek), and this is the part of town that used to be the red light district... scandalous! But really cute and charming now, I think.

After wandering around the town for a while, I went ziplining through the tops of the trees on the other side of the island. Ketchikan is part of the second-largest rainforest in the world (but obviously in Alaska it's a temperate rainforest, not tropical). They actually measure their rainfall in FEET, not inches. They typically receive 13 feet of rain a year, and the record is something like 19 feet.
Seriously... ziplining through the canopy of a rainforest??? It was SO FUN!!! I had a blast, the guides who took us through were hilarious, and I would absolutely do it again.
This is the Unimog that took us up the mountain to the top of the ziplines.
This is me on one of three rope bridges we crossed between the seven ziplines.
This is one of the platforms surrounding the trees. This is where we landed at the end of each zipline. We were 130 feet in the air! The longest zipline was 750 feet and we got going as fast as 35 miles an hour.

These are some of the things I saw from the platforms up in the canopy. The first is a hemlock growing off a branch of another tree (a spruce??) with its roots splaying down below. The second is a view out to the bay.

Me with my crazy guides. They were totally spastic and tons of fun.

After I was done with my zipline adventure I wandered back in to town, met up with the crew and spent another hour or so shopping. Then it was back to the ship for dinner and more gorgeous scenery!

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