For a couple of Australians, it was a magnificent experience to come face to face with a black bear in the wild…..from the relative safety of a viewing area above the creek.
To see these bears wading through the water looking for a fattening Salmon so that they may hibernate for the winter was an experience that most Australians will simply never experience. Anne and I were truly thankful for the experience and it is something that will stay with us for years to come.
I can highly recommend this experience.
It wasn't long before Anne and I spotted a bear walking through the creek looking for a Salmon meal!
The sun was shining and the hungry black bear glistened in the sun as it strolled over the rocks and into the pools of running water. This beautiful creature was stunning as it stealthly looked for school of Salmon to devour.
It is what we had come to see and the day had been perfect so far. A beautiful sunny day, a smooth flight with excellent scenery, Bald Eagles and now black bears doing what the love to do...eat Salmon!
After our float Plane landed on Prince of Wales Island we headed off to Tongass National Forest. We left the sealed roads behind and took a "drit track" down to Dog Salmon Fish Pass where we hoped to see some black bear having a "decent feed" of salmon in the fast flowing creek.
After alighting our vehicle we walked the 800 meters down to the creek where there is a magnificent viewing area and we settled in for a spot of wildlife viewing.
Not long after our arrival a Bald Eagle flew up the creek as it was searching for a fish. What a beautiful bird...although the locals believe that they are a pest!
Ketchikan was home to at least 3 Indian tribes- the Tlingit, which is the most famous, along with the Tsimshian and Haida tribes. As a result, Ketchikan is well known for having the world’s largest collection of totem poles!
The Saxman Native Village, Totem Bight State Park and the Totem Heritage Centers offer the best range of Totem Poles but you see plenty of Totems by simply walking around Ketchikan's downtown area. The Totems that I have featured are in a small park in the middle of town, a short stroll from Creek Street.
Found on the back of the salmon and commercial fishing industry, Ketchikan was established in 1900.
As the Creek that winds its way through Ketchikan curves it's way past the modern city it suddenly leads you to a "blast from the past,"......Creek Street
Creek Street is emblazoned on a sign that proudly stands tall over the beginning of a wooden bridge that leads across the creek. You are then presented with a charming street of restaurants, cafes, art galleries, museums and retail shops that sit atop a lovely wooden boardwalk.
USA Today named the Creek Street Baordwalk one of the country’s top ten as it is home to the prohibition era shop buildings and bordellos.
If you do not wish to shop in the many jewellery stores, you may wish to complete a simple walking tour of Ketchikan. There are "official Ketchikan Walking Tour maps" available which will make the experience all the more enjoyable and informative.
The maps are available for free from the Ketchikan visitor information centers. As you follow the numbered sign posted trail along one of 2 routes the history jumps out at you!
Allow between 60 and 120 minutes to comfortably walk either of the 2 routes offered, however, you will shop and browse along the way!
Anne and I visited Ketchikan in August 2010 while sailing on the beautiful Sea Princess. It was late in the season" and the weather was nothing short of spectacular!
The town is very compact and is "mostly" flat and easy to walk. If you are into shopping, like most cruise ship ports in Alaska, Ketchikan is filled with jewellery and souvenier shops that are more than happy to remove your money from your wallets!
The flight to Prince of Wales Island is a short 45 minute flight of the most spectacular scenery you can ever imagine.
Small islets litter the torquoise waters that seem to be filled with of manner of small watercraft...perhaps chasing the salmon. On our flight we saw a pod of killer whales as they slowy made their way south looking for another feed of fish.
After arriving at the "Taquan Air float plane home base," which just happens to be opposite the Ketchikan International Airport, you are give a safety demonstration and assigned to your aircraft, one of their many DeHavilland floatplanes.
You grab your gear and head out the back door, along the board walk and assemble in front of your plane. At this stage the pilot will ask if you wish to sit in any particular seat. On the way over, Danny was assigned the front seat while I was assigned this seat on the way back.
To tell you the truth, there are no bad seats in the DeHavilland floatplane as every passenger has a guge window and an excellent view.
When Anne and I planned our trip to Ketckikan, Alaska, we knew it as Alaskas first city as well as the Salmon Capital of the world. Neither of these things interested us though!
We wanted to see the wilderness and everything it had to offer, including BEARS!
The best way to do this, we thought, was to take a scenic flight into the wilderness and combine the sightseeing, wilderness and bears in a one day adventure!
As part of the all inclusive price, Taquan Air will collect you from your hotel/airport or cruise ship and take you to their home base.
Downtown is an interesting place, large and with a number of interesting buildings. It has many shops, some places to eat, etc. One must look beyond the cheesy touristy element that has taken over and which can be a bit bothersome, but it's worth it.
This is a path or "street" along the creek through the woods from Creek Street to Park Ave. It was supposedly the way that the married men would take to get to and from the brothels of Creek Street without being obvious. It is a scenic path and takes one from Creek Street to the fish ladder, which some find interesting.
Edmonds Street, going uphill from downtown, is a residential street that is simply a wooden walkway and stairs, a very old-fashioned remnant of the pre-automobile days. It is an interesting area and the top of it gives nice views over town.
This is one of the oldest parts of town and is very interesting. It has become thoroughly touristy now, unfortunately, but it is certainly worth visiting for the characterful old-fashioned setting and nature of the neighbourhood and its history. This was until the 1950s the centre of the brothel/red-light district. Prostitution was legal as long as not on land and the buildings here were built out over the water. The street itself is simply a wooden boardwalk over the water along the creek.
THIS IS EXPENSIVE.........
IT IS A MUST DO IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT!
Before we went to Alaska, we picked out what we wanted to see and do, one of them was the floatplane trip. I read many review's, and there was not one person who had a complaint.
Once again, we were met at the "Rain gauge" and taken to where we were to board our Float plane. Off we went to the 4 seat Plane where we sat, and buckled up. Next, the Pilot taxied out onto the water, he had to wait as it was quite busy with Float planes landing and taking off.
Lift-off! Up in the air we went, and I didn't feel a thing, it was such a smooth take off, much better than on the ground.
This flight starts in Ketchikan and flies 15-20 minutes through the Tongass National Forest to The Misty Fjords National Monument.
We saw some small towns at the start, then dozen's of waterfalls, shear granite cliffs, trees growing everywhere, even out of sheer rock. The earlier rain had cleared but not completely the fog, it didn't matter, as in my eyes, it became even more mysterious and beautiful!
We saw so many lakes and beautiful fjords, even two Black Bears that the Pilot brought the Plane down for us to have a closer look at before landing on the lake and taxiing into land.
We hopped out and stretched our legs and took in the beauty. Meanwhile, the Pilot had out his fly fishing rod, threw the line in, and bang, a nice big Rainbow trout he had caught, just like that!
He threw the Fish back in the water, and the line in again, it no sooner hit the water again, and bang! another Fish, this one was bigger again. Wow! I would enjoy fishing like this!
We boarded our plane again, and completed our journey back to Ketchikan.
The scenery we saw was of outstanding beauty, one that my husband and I said would be very hard to beat!
There are many companies that do the Tours, so check them out, we used Family airtours and couldn't complain. Tours go for different lengths of time. If we were later in the season, we were going to book the one that landed on the glacier, we were too early though!
This tour lasts for 2 hours (dock to dock, not cruise ship pickup to cruise ship dock) and includes flightseeing through the Monument and a shore stop for 30 minutes on a wilderness Fjord
PRICES IN 2010..........
$229.00 per person/2 person min./4 max.
$179.00 for children under 12 years old,
accompanied by two adults.
FANTASTIC!.......A JOURNEY WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER!