FEASTING ON CRAB AND EXPLORING A RAINFOREST IN KETCHIKAN
Hi there! Today we’ll be feasting on crab and exploring a rainforest in Ketchikan, Alaska. After a day at sea, Ketchikan was our first port of call on our recent Celebrity cruise to Alaska. We arrived to wet and foggy weather which threatened to make our day a soggy one.
I must admit that going to Alaska had never been high on my bucket list. That’s because so many of the photos I saw were of the towns that just seemed like lousy tourist traps. Now that I have been there to judge for myself I can say that regrettably I was correct. The towns we saw lacked charm and were full of the same old shops, filled with the same old chatzky junk. If they weren’t selling chatzkies they were selling jewelry. Who buys jewelry on vacation? I guess some people must but I don’t. In fact, I didn’t buy a single thing on this trip! That’s how poor the shopping was. Somebody needs to go to Alaska and teach them a thing or two about retail and the art of merchandising. It could do wonders for the economy of Alaska. And they could also use some help in urban planning, as what charm you do find in the towns is overshadowed by industrial stuff, airports, etc. right in the heart of town. But honestly, I didn’t come to Alaska for the towns, I came for the natural beauty of the place, and in this respect it far exceeded my expectations.
So, now that I’ve got that off my chest, we will head right out of town to our first stop, The Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary. Located at picturesque Herring Cove, 8 miles from Ketchikan, this 40 acre rainforest reserve includes tall stands of spruce, hemlock and cedar trees covered in beautiful moss.
The forest floor is also saturated with moss covered rocks lining a trickling stream.
A variety of wildflowers and berries line the trail as well as lots of slimy slug creatures.
The sanctuary experience includes walking a half mile trail through a diverse ecosystem located in the Tongass National Forest. At 17 million acres, the Tongass is the largest national forest in the United States. We were told on our docent led walking tour that the hollowed out tree below is a resting spot for the local black bears. We saw their footprints in the soggy soil.
The trail took us along a raised boardwalk through a beautiful canopy of trees.
High above us were the more adventurous souls who took to the trees for a zipline flight across 6,000 feet of high tension cables that work their way through the rainforest.
Eventually the boardwalk opens up alongside Eagle Creek, one of Alaska’s richest salmon spawning streams which flows into an estuary and then into the ocean.
It was here that we got up-close-and-personal with beautiful Bald Eagles that were in great abundance.
We observed them bathing in the stream where they were also hunting for a catch of Alaskan salmon.
A major fish hatchery is located across the creek from the sanctuary boardwalk and it must have had a lot to do with attracting these beautiful soaring creatures to the area.
We learned that it takes five years for a bald eagle to attain its solid white head and tail feathers, so the eagles you see here are youngsters.
The walking tour eventually lead us to a historic Alaskan sawmill where we watched a master totem-pole carver at work.
The Alaska Raptor Center houses aviary exhibits here where they care for injured birds and animals. This is where we met this wise old owl and got to pet some friendly reindeer with their furry antlers.
All this walking and wildlife worked up an appetite in us, so we went happily along to our next stop, George Inlet Lodge where we would partake in a crab feast of epic proportions!
Getting to the lodge meant traversing over 100 steps. They make you work for your food here!
Situated along this lovely coastline is the cosy lodge where we were served all the Dungeness crab we could eat, freshly hauled in from these very waters just a few hours prior.
We were seated family style at a table of 7. This is what my plate looked like before we started consuming epic amounts of this tasty treat.
And this is what we and our dining companions managed to consume by the time we had had our fill.
At least I had to climb those steps on the way out too. It was good for burning off a few of the thousands of calories we had just consumed. By the way, I don’t know who that guy was on the stairs is. He was just making the climb behind me when I stopped, panty loudly, to catch my breath!
In closing let me leave you with this quote from John Muir which sums up how I felt after my day in Ketchikan, Alaska…
So there you have it: FEASTING ON CRAB AND EXPLORING A RAINFOREST IN KETCHIKAN
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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise credited, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission.