Alaska!

Arti disappeared from Cowtown for a few days and reappeared in Ketchikan, Alaska.  That’s the cause for the delay in replying some of your comments from the last post.  I decided to rid myself of all internet and phone access so I could make these short few days a real getaway.

But herein lies the nagging dilemma:  Is there a better way to access nature other than the commercial route?  Arti had to follow the crowd and board a cruise ship, not her choice of transport, but … what are the options?

So here it is, a visual account of my journey at sea to Ketchikan, the south-western tip of Alaska, north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

We set sail at the Canada Place Terminal.  On deck looking out, Port Vancouver’s famous architectural sails look slightly surreal, a virtual outdoor gallery of sculptures larger than life:

Canada Place View from Deck

Leaving Port Vancouver:

Leaving Port of Vancouver

After a couple of days at sea, we arrived at Ketchikan, Alaska.  Among  other things like being the salmon capital of the world, Ketchikan is famous for its rain, measuring its precipitation in feet, not inches.

Here’s Ketchikan under overcast sky:

Ketchikan under overcast sky

A little  more cheery scene:

Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan is also home to The Tongass Rain Forest, the largest national forest in the United States.  It is part of the Pacific Temperate Rain Forest Region, which is second in size to the world’s largest Amazon Tropical Rain Forest.

Moss on treesArti ventured into this area with a naturalist. Together with 15 others in our group, we trod the trails of the Alaska Rain Forest Sanctuary.  Here are the sights I’ve sailed all the way for:

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Berries UndergrowthColorful undergrowth

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MushroomOne of the many species of mushrooms, some giant ones grow on trees.

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Devil's Paw Food for the BearsDevil’s Paw, food for the bears.  Underneath are poisonous hooks, but the bears deftly eat off the stems of the plant.

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Ferns and mossFerns and moss: Even tree branches are covered with moss.  As the branches grow heavier, they will break off the tree, fulfilling a natural pruning process.

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Momentarily, we came to a creek.  Yes, salmon swam up here: Right in the middle of a rain forest we saw gulls gathering, competing with the bears for the salmon in the water.  We were fortunate to see a mother bear with two cubs.  Here in this fuzzy (sorry, Arti was too excited) photo, you can see, even though ‘bearly’, the mother and one of her cubs on the left:

Bears having lunch

And this next one is out of this world.  Gulls flying all around above the creek, a magical, even mythical sight to behold:

Rainforest Gulls

Reindeer

We next visited a reindeer farm.  I’ve seen elks and deers in my neck of the woods in Alberta, but this is the first time I saw reindeers.  Here’s a curious fella:

When we left Ketchikan, it was pouring rain:

Leaving Ketchikan in the rain

On our way back to Vancouver, we cruised through the Inside Passage.  It offered one of the most beautiful sights in the whole journey:

Sailing through the Inside Passage

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Of course, it’s Arti’s nature to find ripples everywhere:

Ripples

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Ripples 3

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The Inside Passage at dusk, the silence punctuated only by the calls of gulls and frolicking dolphins splashing in and out of the quiet water.  Yes, I saw the synchronized dances of two dolphins jumping out of the water and diving back in, but it was just too impromptu to capture by my camera.

The Inside Passage at Dusk

This is my best memory, sunset along the Inside Passage:

Sunset in the Inside Passage

*****

Photos taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, September, 09.  All Rights Reserved.

Published by

Arti

If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

13 thoughts on “Alaska!”

  1. Amazing, glorious. What a great opportunity to travel to this wonderland…

    Ellen,

    It certainly is a wildlife wonderland… and the scenic Inside Passage, the silence and serenity just mesmerizing.

    Arti

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  2. Arti, what a wonderful opportunity for you! And what a wonderful destination. Southwestern Alaska is deeply appealing to me. I’ve not been to Tongass or Ketchikan, but I would love to go.
    I’ve always been curious about the rainforests of Alaska and the Pacific NW after living in an African rainforest!

    You were somewhat south of where I began my Alaska journey. I took one of those “other” forms of transport – a 65′ Dutch-built sailboat. We left Hawaii and crossed the Pacific in ten days, entering Cross Sound, heading north into Glacier Bay and then ending at Sitka. It was a glorious three weeks that was the highlight of my sailing career.

    Thanks for sharing your photos – I keep getting more and more intrigued by Vancouver, and I’m curious – was the rainforest tour associated with the cruise ship, or was it separate?

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    1. Wow Linda, I’d love to hear more about your sailing experience to Alaska from Hawaii! What an adventure it must have been for you! I took the commercial route. The wildlife sanctuary was a side trip, an excursion which I had to pay extra. I’d love to go again and explore more of Alaska the next time if I have the chance, but most likely not on a cruise ship. The Inside Passage is marvellous though, well worth the sea sickness and Gravols I had to take.

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  3. Arti, this is wonderful! I would love to visit Alaska someday (Vancouver too, for that matter), but if I can’t I have your travelogue to read and re-read. The photos are fabulous (even the ‘excited’one) and I enjoyed your commentary. You should enlarge the last one and have it framed. It is beyond gorgeous!

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    1. ds,

      Cowtown is Calgary, Alberta, the Stampede City, my hometown. I had to fly out to Vancouver, B.C., to take the cruise. For me, a coastal and cultural getaway would be Vancouver, where I’d catch indie films, museums and galleries, and Regent. If I want to have a mountain get-away, I’d go to Banff, the Rockies and glacial lakes right here in Alberta.

      And Alaska! That’s something totally different. I’m glad you share my excitement.

      Like

  4. Yesterday we said good-bye to Peter’s houseguest Stephen, who flew back home to Vancouver, so I read and looked at your photos with interest (even though many were not in Vancouver).

    I was so happy to see photos both of the city and nature, which would fill my soul on a trip like that. And to see the salmon run! And grizzlies! That must have been a thrill.

    Peter was going to do an Alaskan cruise for his gig (I’m getting ready to post about him actually), but they were reassigned to Hawaii. Stephen, the houseguest, is the ship’s videographer, and they just spent 10 days together on a road trip. I must say they make a cruise more appealing now that I’ve heard their stories. It was never my first choice either. Too bad he won’t stay with Princess long enough for us to get the 50% discount! This will be his last gig, he thinks.

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    1. Ruth,

      Again, what synchronicity… I was on a Princess cruise, and just got back to Van. Sept. 23 Wed. And if you had heard from the news, there was a woman who jumped overboard, suspected suicide. The videotape got it and if your houseguest Stephen were on board, I’m sure he would have been involved in the investigation… Anyway, Alaska is inspiring, I mean the Inside Passage. BTW, those were black bears, much tamer. We wouldn’t have ventured into grizzly country.

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  5. Beautiful photos, Arti. It’s gorgeous country, for sure. I’ve done the Port Hardy-Prince Rupert route, and been to the Queen Charlottes, but never cruised all the way up (although I’ve travelled through Alaska by car when I used to live in the Yukon). It’s all so beautiful! I hope you came back completely refreshed and inspired. 🙂

    Shari,

    You’re fortunate to live right on the coastal shore… that should keep you inspired all the time, without taking a trip!

    Arti

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  6. Ok phew, no grizzlies.

    Wow, that is remarkable about Princess and AK! I’m pretty sure that is exactly the cruise they were supposed to be on. I had not heard about the woman’s death, how terrible. And yes, Stephen would have been involved. I’m sure he has heard about it by now since he is busy on the ship training on new video equipment.

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  7. Very beautiful photographs. Thanks! Alaska is only one of the two states I haven’t been to. I’d really like to go. My aunt lived in Ketchikan for many years, we never visited her. Now she lives in Carlsbad, California, which I did manage to visit last week….

    Cathy,

    I’d like to visit Ketchikan again. Last time it was raining so hard and I just visited the rainforest, a small part of it. There’s a Creek Street in DT Ketchikan that’s real unique. I just passed by it last time. Your aunt would know which part I’m talking about… it’s rated one of the 10 best boardwalks in America.

    Arti

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  8. It was Sept. 2009 when you took the cruise, I was in the hospital. No wonder I missed all these wonderful sights then. Now I know where the ‘ripples’ came from on your blog.

    The pics of this post are gorgeous, so peaceful and serene. I particularly like the Inside Passage….wish I were there on the cruise. Great post!

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    MM,

    Welcome to my travel log. It’s a photo album you can always come back to… never too late. 😉

    Arti

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  9. It was good, Arti, to read about your Alaskan travels. I keep thinking, as each day passes, how last week at this time we were at the eagle preserve… or walking the Butchart Garden…

    I loved your photos, especially the seagulls in flight.

    Have you ever read any of John Muir’s Alaskan travel journal? If not, you may enjoy it. Especially on your next trip…

    Janell

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    1. Janell,

      I don’t know when I’ll go back. Right now, I can’t leave home for too long too far, due to the caring of two elderly parents… even though they aren’t living with me. I’ve to be around town, on call, if you know what I mean. And, some years ahead, if I do have the chance to take off for longer time, I have so many places I’d want to visit that it’ll take my whole life to get to the bottom of that list. 😉 But your posts on Alaska just brought back fond memories of that trip. And no, I’ve not read Muir. But thanks for intro. me to his book.

      Like

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