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Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Day of Exploring

I don't know how many miles I walked this morning, but I was out of the house relatively early this morning and went on a walk-about around Ketchikan. I thought it was going to rain all day, but after a cloudy start, the day turned into a partly-cloudy, bright day. I walked what must have been 7 or 8 miles, and my feet even hurt a little bit, but it was well worth it.

I walked south-east along the ocean for a while. They've built an incredible system of boardwalks along the docks here, so that the cruise ship people can access the town easily and walk everywhere. Lots of the parts of town built by the ocean stands on pilings, huge structural foundational supports that are driven deep into the floor of the bay. It seems to me like a massive feat of engineering, but I guess it's been done for hundreds if not thousands of years. Still, it's really neat to be able to walk across these walkways suspended about 30 feet above the water. A lot of the houses and shops are built on the steep hills and have stilts and steep wooden stairs to get to them. Most of them have connected wood decks, like boardwalks, and they're actually marked as "streets". It would be great to live in a house off one of these streets, but where would you park? How would you get the groceries up?

Before I headed into downtown proper, I stopped and snagged a picture of the Aleutian Ballad, one of the ships featured on the Discovery Channel's show "The Deadliest Catch". In my head, I heard Mike Rowe and some narration about that ship leaving Dutch Harbor... and then I heard Bon Jovi... and it's been stuck there ever since.

I started exploring downtown after that. I walked through the area with the narrow streets and the businesses. The town itself is very small, very cute, very tourist-oriented. Everything revolves around the cruise industry, which starts on Thursday of this coming week. That's when the first cruise ship gets into town, almost doubling the population as soon as it docks. I'm curious to see how that will be to see a huge ship docked here in this little town.

One of the neatest things here in Ketchikan is Creek Street. This is one of the boardwalk "streets" I was talking about earlier. It's suspended above the creek, and it's packed with restaurants and shops. It used to be the red light district, full of brothels, saloons, and hotels. during the prohibition era, I guess the crooks with the booze would come up at high tide and sneak under the shady places and send up their hootch through a trap door in the floor of their back rooms. I love it! The honest need for booze and the means by which people went to procure it... so fascinating to me.

After Creek Street, I walked up to the city park, where there was lush greenery all around. There was a big fountain, and the creek was partially diverted to make these little streams and pools throughout the park. All of the benches and picnic tables were soaked, but still... it was pretty damn neat.

My final photographic link to my story involves a sit-down at the local Safeway, experimenting with my panoramic tool on my camera. The resolution isn't that great, as I don't have awesome software on this computer, but the general point should be construed. Here's the ocean from Ketchikan:
Now that it's up here, it's much too small. I'll have to build another one soon. In the meantime, enjoy!
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