Kayaking is very popular in Alaska. Right in town is rental shops for the boats. Most tourists can get a little ride to know how much fun it is to kayak, and the serious kayak sports folks can have a ball. A lot of kayakers enjoy riding below the Creek Street stores. The many wood pilings holding up Creek Street makes for some fancy manuering and the tourists up on Creek Street get to enjoy kayakers making their way down the waterway.
Equipment: No need to bring anything but maybe a jacket to keep warm. The Southeast Sea Kayaks Company has everything you need to keep you paddling happy.
As you probably already know, one of Alaska's major industries is fishing. You can certainly do alot of it in almost any coastal, Alaskan town. My husband and son went salmon fishing in Juneau and just had a fabulous time. Most fishing excursions or charters are about 4 to 8 hours and include all your fishing gear, tackle and bait. This DOES NOT INCLUDE your fishing licenses which will run you from about $10 to $20; King Salmon stamps are the same range. Most charters will serve snacks and non-alcoholic drinks.
As an added benefit, hese charters or excursions will even arrange for another company to "process" (cleaned, fileted, smoked, packaged) your fish and/or ship it home for you! This is a tad bit expensive but may be well worth it. My son caught his first salmon on the fishing trip, so we had it processed and shipped which probably cost us about $40 but we thought it was worth it. The processing company will set up a date for shipping to ensure that you are home to receive it.
You may choose a time to fish for Chinook (King), Coho or Pink Salmon; Halibut, Red Snapper or other "Bottom Fish." In addition, you will probably be lucky enough to see Bald Eagles, whales, seals, etc. as my husband and son did. That really added to the whole experience.
Fishing Excursions or Charters will run about $150 or so for 4 hours up to $275 or more for 8 hours. Many of these outfits can also arrange lodging and other sightseeing.
For more info., try these companies:
Ketchikan Charter Boats, Inc., P. O. Box 9076, Ketchikan
PH: 1-800-272-7291; FAX: 907-247-7291; www.ketchikancharterboats.com
Naha Bay Outdoor Adventures, P. O. Box 7482, Ketchikan
PH:907-247-4453 www.nahafishing.com; E-mail: contactUs@nahafishing.com
Equipment: As mentioned above, the charter or fishing excursion companies provide almost everything in the way of fishing gear, tackle and bait. You buy the fishing licenses and/or stamps/permits.
Good items to bring are non-slip shoes or boots; sunblock (yes, even in Alaska); waterproof pants/jacket, etc., hat and some warm clothes depending on what time of year you fish.
For fishing gear, licenses, etc., in Sitka try:
"Fly Away Fly Shop" 101 Lake St., Suite B, Sitka
PH: 1-877-747-7301 : E-MAIL: email@example.com
This picture of Ward Creek is taken from the bridge on the trail around Ward Lake.
One of the popular fishing spots on the lake is below this bridge looking back at the lake rather than down the creek. On the banks there the water is just starting to speed up, and well, there is a bank fisherman can easily get to. Much of the lake is hard to get to the shore.
The trail around Ward Lake is a popular, easy hike. It's fairly level, and long enough to get some exercise, but short enough to make it nice for people who just want to see the surroundings. Many locals come out here to jog, so while you're walking they'll pass you up a few times.
You'll get wonderful up close look at the rain forests of the Southeast Alaska, as well as the water plants such as lily pads and reeds. Keep in mind this is in the forest, and wild critters live here too. Occasionally a pesky bear causes some trouble, and normally in the summer when tourist season is at it's peak a self-respecting bear will want to be far from the traffic.
Locals hike up Deer Mountain in the winter so they can go snowboarding. They follow the Deer Mountain Trail to the snow line and from there head out and find the best slopes. Caution would be in order as the slopes can be icy, and aren't maintained in anyway.
Deer Mountain can get quite a bit of snow, as in the image I took of the Alaska's First City sign downtown.
One day I was crazy enough to climb up Deer Mountain. I can climb mountains, but I can’t climb stairs. No one told me before I started that the Deer Mountain trail is kept from washing away in the rainforest by split wood stairs up the mountainside in many spots. Oh, it killed my knees. After that I was less fit than ever before!
However, if you haven’t had lifelong knee problems, then climbing this mountain is good for the fit and adventurous. It’s a well-groomed 5-mile trail, that provides breathtaking views of the Tongass Narrows, the waterway that separates Revillagigedo Island from Gravina Island (where Ketchikan International Airport is located).
You can see the airport on Gravina in this image. The tiny little island that splits the Tongass Narrows into two channels at Downtown Ketchikan (only part of this small island is visible in this image on the left) is Pennock Island. Pennock Island is named after Homer Pennock who spent some time in this area, but is perhaps more famous for being the gold miner who established the first development on the Homer Spit in 1896 up on the Kenai Peninsula.
Equipment: Sturdy hiking boots, extra socks. Layers. Even in the summer the weather can change and get chilly, and rainy.