Petersburg is a fishing town by Barbara Edwards

Petersburg
Petersburg

Petersburg- At the wharf we watch the container unloaded from the barges. Even boats are piled on the top. It’s the only way to transport goods here.

The town is on a small level bend in the Narrows.

 

 

Its a clean, neat place with lots of flowers and some of the houses painted with colors. Drove to the Beach Park and walked the beach.

The Salmon Fishing derby is going on and lots of boats are in the harbor and on the water.

There are totems and petroglyphs.

Petersburg
Petersburg

I’m not sure why the place seems so different. The houses are mostly small, well-kept and nice. The town has a very neat center with the post office, library, town hall within walking distance. Its 50 plus and the sun is shining.

The weighing station for the 33rd Annual Petersburg Salmon Derby is at the Harbor Master’s dock. In a cooler is the 44.7 pound leader. It’s enormous, but there might be one bigger by the end of the day.

I’m watching the fishermen launch small boats. The marina has more masts than the forest has trees.

Petersburg
Petersburg

We drove the eight blocks to the edge of the town. The fields are covered with stunted trees, not sure why.

Looking for a restaurant to try a local food, but nothing is open. It’s Sunday.

I finally realise why Petersburg is different. The town has no

Petersburg
Petersburg

section devoted to cruise ships. It is a working fishing village.

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Wrangell, Alaska is frontier country by Barbara Edwards

On to Wrangell.

House in the Narrows
House in the Narrows

Traveling up the  Narrows we pass a single house on an island mid-stream. The feeling of isolation is overwhelming. What person would spend time so far from everything? I have thought about light-house keepers, but this is different. A home so far from people.

The Narrows slip between rows of mountains. I know they are broken onto individual islans, but it’s hard to find the breaks.

Mountain view in the Narrows
Mountain view in the Narrows

Clouds hover low and sometimes I think its another mountain range, but it disappears. The sun is shining in a spotty manner.I can see it reflectied on the forest in one area and another it looks like it might be raining.

Wrangell
Wrangell

The forest is changing. More exposed rock, fewer trees. Still steep. A tiny strip of exposed beach along the shore.

And tow whales close enough to see but not photograph.

Snow caps the mountains more often than not. The breeze is chill.

We drove aboard in Ketchikan and backed into the front space to leave first. The ship id twenty feet below the dock and we drive up this steep ramp to exit. I’m nervous at heights and this is narrow.

Wrangell is a small place. Of  course I couldn’t find the campground even though I have to maps so I ask directions. The men laugh and say take a left then go down the road. It is easy to find the city camp ground. It’s on a small shelf above the water and the view is breathtaking. Wrangell reminds me of New England fishing villages. I  hope they don’t think that’s an insult since they’re very independent here. It has the boat repairs places, marinas filled with a variety of fishing vessels and the processing plant. The shore is the most noticeable. Broken black shale, boulders and driftwood logs are predominant. It looks like rough walking, but I’ll do some later. This is not a cruise town. The stores cater to the locals with a few for tourists that have real handmade items.

At the visitor’s center I find my local stone. Garnet Ledge is a boat ride across the bay in the national forest. Only kids are allowed to gather the garnets. They use hammers and chisels to pry them from the rock. They are imbedded in micashist, sparkly grey stone almost as pretty as the garnets. They had a variety of sizes but i got one still in the micashist. I’m not going to say what I paid or everyone would take a trip just to get them. The lady at the center recommended a place to grab lunch explaining we should split the plate since the servings are huge. She was right. I spoke to a local at the next table about her research on four generations of Tlinglits and the problems collecting stories from the older generation. I wish her good luck since it’s an important project.

In the evening we’re unwinding. Bill is complaining about the persistent rain and there is a knock at the door. The camper next door, a fisherman, brought us a platter of Dungeness Crab legs. Oh my. What can I say? They were delicious. It would have cost us a lot to get them in a restaurant and we had enough to stuff ourselves. Even Keeno got a couple bites. Fresh from the water, steamed and eaten, the flavor is indescribable. I’ll never have anything as tasty again.

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IMG_0131

Ketchikan by Barbara Edwards

IMG_0087Ketchikan, last day. So what’s special? Mostly the people. They’re friendly, helpful and fun to talk with. The waitress told us about the Salmon fishing contest. She’s trying for the woman’s prize of $10,000. I hope she wins its three weekends of competition.

We drove the eitheen miles of road from end to end. Its a diverse area,IMG_0057 fishing, boarge and towing, lumber, the cruise ship dock with its resort bling, and at either end are the local homes. People have water cisterns catching the rain from the roof. Odd in an area with so much water.

It’s raining again today.

Creek Street
Creek Street

We walked on Creek street, the old bordello location until the 1950s. Now it’s a historical area, with a funicular up to the top of the mountain and a hotel.

I’m not disappointed because of the rain. It’s part of the charm. If I wanted sunny days I could go to the Caribbean. This is what I wanted to see. My country. It is the most beautiful on earth, believe me. I know because I’ve pushed foreign tourists out of the way to take my photos. Hehehe

If it weren’t cold, I’d be happier. The clouds hang low over the mountains. Sea planes take off every few minutes from the harbor area and the tourists are staying close to the cruise ships. We board the ferry early in the morning and are planning to park in the Marine Highway terminal overnight. The trip from Bellingham to Ketchikan was 616 miles.

 

IMG_0059 IMG_0090So I want to remember the story about the white black bears. Before reaching Ketchikan is an area with waterfalls, snow and steep forested walls. A local mentioned this is where they found the legendary white bear. Not an albino, but a black bear colored white. A National Geographic story in the 70s told the story and took photos. I have to research it.

Then there are the blue black bears. Another research subject.

I like the Asylum bar yesterday. The owner, from Brooklyn, and his family were so friendly. We stayed for hours. I had too much to drink. They let Keeno inside and he loved halibut nuggets and French fries.

Two whales are spotted near the ship. I can’t see them very well, but they do spout a little then dive with the tail up. What kind? I don’t know, but this is only the beginning.

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Ketchikan AK by Barbara Edwards

Getting to Ketchikan on the Alaska Marine HighwayImage

We pass tiny Bellabella and Clearwater, a few lighthouses and night is approaching.

Getting off the ferry in Ketchikan was fast and easy. We were the last on so off we went. Spent some time eating a leisurely breakfast, and visited the forest service campground. Wow. In the middle of a real wilderness. It was only five dollars, but Bill wants a hot shower.

Alaska, to Ketchican2 168So we find the only private campground. It’s at a marina. Spectacular view over the water, marina.

 

 

Did I mention that the dawn is at four am? I have awakened both days and have to get to bed with the sky still light.

Alaska, to Ketchican2 192The port reminds me of every cruise ship port we’ve been in. Lots of little stores and restaurants. No bargains, but loads of souvenirs.

 

 

 

 

Alaska, to Ketchican2 179We stop at the Totem Bight State Park. Its trail goes from totem to totem, past a clan house where a related family would live, and along the shore. It’s a lovely place. Short walk and I learned a lot.

 

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Bellingham Ferry to Ketchikan by Barbara Edwards

IMG_0176Doing something different is risky and taking the Marine Highway is different.

 

 

IMG_0214I did research and knew about walking the dog on the car deck, but not having to keep the area clean.

The crew are friendly and helpful.

 

Of course our vehicle was one of the last loaded. Last on first off in Ketchikan.

This meant all the lounge chairs for sleeping in the IMG_0197solariums were claimed. Oh well.

 

 

 

 

IMG_0178We found a place in the inside lounge.

 

 

 

Then came the figuring out where to eat and what. We brought some microwave dinners and had them, and then my husband wanted to plan breakfast. I’m figuring out what to wear to sleep. I worked on my edits for a IMG_0183couple hours and they turned off the lights at nine pm Alaska time.

Sleeping in a room with several dozen strangers is weird. Bill settled his bag on the floor and I curled up on a three chair bench. I slept fitfully. Like home, the smallest noise woke me. IMG_0193The shoreline was a black silhouette broken by occasional lights on either boats or the shore. Bill IMG_0190woke me at four am to see the lightening sky. Its cloudy so no spectacular dawn.

 

Later: The ferry is passing through a narrow channel. Forest runs down to the shore and its brisk.

What’s next? We need to walk the dog and I’m changing my clothes when we can get to the car deck at eight am.

Turned foggy and the foghorn blows every few minutes. A mournful sound. Finally the sun breaks through and it’s nice enough to go on deck in my shirtsleeves. The shore drifts by in a wonderful forest and rock collection. There is too much to see, to enjoy. I inhale the clean air and relax.

 

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One more day by Barbara Edwards

Bellingham
Bellingham

Bellingham Washington is spread out over miles. With Marina, Malls, historic areas and the ferry terminal.

 

 

 

IMG_0186We found the historic Fairhaven to be charming, the business center to bustle with foot-traffic and the surrounding area to be lush and green.

The well-maintained houses march up the steep hills and I wonder what it must be like to look at the view every day.

IMG_0189I love living near the water, but this is more than a lake or stream.

We’ve been lucky to have nice weather. The temperature goes from the fifties in the morning to the seventies. And the sun has been shining.

The ferry terminal is a large building next to the dock. I stopped to check our itinerary and they gave us our tickets. Suddenly the trip is real. I am choked by excitement. After planning so long, we are finally going to see Alaska.

I can’t seem to keep the details straight. We can sleep in the lounges on the ferry, book a cabin or pitch a tent on the deck. There’s no WiFi so I’ll be out of contact for several days. There’s a restaurant, microwaves or some passengers bring coolers.

So many choices. I’m used to a cruise where everything is done and I just  have to show up. This is so different. Good for me to stretch my skills.

North to Alaska, like in the John Wayne movie, North the rush is on.

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At long last, Washington, by Barbara Edwards

Washington state is different in many ways from Connecticut.

IMG_0168Rocky cliffs line the shores here.

Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park

 

 

 

We found a nice campsite at Larrabee State Park to wait for the Ferry.

 

 

 

 

IMG_0207The park is located on Chuckanut Road. This byway is purported to be the most beautiful scenic road in Washington. I agree. Narrow and cut into the cliffs, the road winds for miles along the shore.

 

Chuckanut Road
Chuckanut Road

With our truck camper, we have to stop and ease over when traffic heads toward us. Up is the forest down is more forest dropping until it reaches the narrow beach or rocks.

 

 

IMG_0152Puget Sound is a deep blue dotted with green islands that are heavily populated. We plan to spend the day doing little trip details like repacking the cabinets and getting a few items at the store.

 

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