June 21st – We arrived in Ketchikan about 11:30am Alaskan time (That is 1 hour earlier than Pacific time).
Ketchikan is a medium sized Alaskan community of about 8,000 year round residents, sitting in the middle of 500 miles of the Tongass National Forest, and is accessible only by air or by boat.
Cruise ships make this a regular stop………Ketchikan may get as many as 4 or 5 cruise ships in a day during the summer.
and ferries provide easy access for both tourists and locals.
Float planes fly between the islands of the Inside Passage, and Ketchikan does have an international airport, too, but you have to take a small ferry across the Tongass Narrows to get to it.
Ketchikan’s climate is a temperate rainforest, and Ketchikan is known as the ‘rain capital of Alaska’ with 160 inches of rain a year! The average temperatures do not get that cold in winter. Lows of about 35 degrees is about normal. In June, the average high is about 60 degrees.
We were very fortunate; our days here were warmish (about 62-65 degrees) and sunny to partly cloudy. Everyone said “ Enjoy the outdoors. It is beautiful weather, which is rare.” Which we did…..
We stayed at Signal Creek Campground, a Forest Service campground just about 8 miles north of town. The campground was nice, but the campsites were a little tight. No hook-ups….didn’t expect or need them.
The scenery was beautiful….right on a little lake, with a nice 1.3 mile nature trail around it. (Good for walking Jade)
After getting off the ferry, we set up the camper and headed into town for a bit of sightseeing. Ketchikan’s most popular downtown area is Creek Street.
Creek Street became home to Ketchikan’s red-light district in 1903, when Ketchikan ordered all bordellos to move across the creek from the town site.
More than 30 ‘sporting’ houses lined Creek Street, most with one or two ‘working girls’. During Prohibition, some of the Creek Street houses became ‘speakeasies’, with bootlegged liquor being rowed in on night time high tides.
When the city council outlawed prostitution in 1953, Creek Street became a mixed residential and commercial area, though a few of the girls remained in their homes and still did a little ‘business’ on the side.
Today, Creek Street, with its boardwalks and historic houses has been turned into the center for Alaskan arts and gift items and a number of cute little cafes.
After wandering downtown Ketchikan and Creek Street for the afternoon, we were ready for an early dinner and to call it a night. We had dinner at the Bar Harbor Restaurant, a small place at a marina, located between town and our campground.
The Bar Harbor caters more to the locals and the marina folks than to the cruise ships and the atmosphere was just right for us at the end of a very long day. We sat outside on the deck, ate some very good fish tacos and polished it off with the most delectable banana bread pudding topped with cinnamon ice cream. It was a very good end to a very nice day.