Our first port stop was Ketchican.
We planned a float plane excursion into the mountains. Our first choice was to book with Michelle at Island Wing Air Service (907-225-2444) because she came highly recommended by a friend and she is the only Float Plane tour that allows you to not only land in the mountain lake .. but get out and walk around on the ground. She was completely booked up for that day though, so we booked this excursion (another operator) through our ship. I wanted to use local independent tour operators, so this was the only tour we did through the cruise line which translated into more $$.
Sadly it was cloudy and raining. The weather was not bad enough to cancel the flight, however the photographs I took were obscured by clouds and .. well - just dull looking. Did you know that much of Alaska is considered a rain forest and that it rains 3 (THREE) times as much there, as it does in Seattle!!! Here is the Ketchican port from above.
The next two photos show the beautiful lush green foliage that covers Alaska in the summer.
After touring the mountains and seeing several water falls (through the clouds) we landed on a mountain lake. It truly was breath taking and these pictures just do not do it justice.
The pilot let us get out and stand on the floats of the plane to take some pictures. I had to stand under the wing not to get wet because by now it was raining.
There were 4 other people with us, each had a window seat and I was thrilled to be able to ride as co-pilot! We had these head phones where we were able to listen to music and the pilot showing us points of interest and telling us some of the history of the area.
This was a first for both of us, as neither had ever ridden in a float plane before. I was sad to head back. This was the most expensive excursion we did - over $500.00 for the both of us and although I am very glad we got to experience it, next time we will do the helicopter ride up to a glacier.
That afternoon Don and I walked around the town of Ketchican. I won't lie though. The first impression after getting off the boat was not a great one. The town looked 'worn' to me and it was not until we walked a ways and into a more historic area that we discovered the charm of the city.
we started to see some local art..
..and then we found Creek Street. This was a charming cottage like shopping area. Only a few of the stores though sold authentic Alaskan made items. As you can guess, most of it was touristy knick nacks..
I love to buy souveniers from the places we visit, but it is always important to me to get something that is local to the area.. something not only made there .. but something that represented the area. In Alaska, I was on the hunt for some nice pieces of Walrus tusk ivory carvings (only made from legally attained tusks washed up on shore after storms), maybe an Ulu knife...and a Christmas ornament too!... but I will show you those pictures later!