Friday, June 22, 2012

Our Alaskan Adventure: Ketchikan

Wrapping up week one in the apartment. Already ready to be in the house, but we'll make it. The place is great, it's the fact that we have no yard. By the end of the day, cabin fever has set in and me and the girls start getting delirious. But, the playground is nearby and is enclosed and the pool is just 10 steps away, so at night, we slide slide slide and swim swim swim and get alllll our energy out before we start over the next day. 

You always worry when living in an apartment complex that you'll have loud neighbors. I'm a little afraid we're the loud neighbors. Well, I'm not loud. The little people I live with are loud. Right now, they're being kitties and well, I had no idea kitties meowed so loudly. We're trying to be indoor kitties. 

Got the washer and dryer yesterday, praise God! I had 6 loads to do, but by golly, those suckers are efficient. Took no time at all. And when they're done washing/drying, they sing a little tune. I was telling David about it and he didn't believe me until he heard it last night and thought it was one of the girls' toys. I TOLD you it sang a little tune. Like, a whole song. 

David is running in a marathon-esque obstacle course thing tomorrow morning called The Barbarian Challenge. It's completely ridiculous with absurd obstacles, but it does seem fun. I told him months ago when he signed up with a few guys from work that I would have zero sympathy for him if he got hurt. I don't want to hear about a femur through the thigh or punctured lung or any sore muscles the next day. He is on his own if he winds up in the hospital.

Okay, here are some more pictures from Alaska! Finally.  

Our second day on the ship, we had a sea day. Rebecca and I got some facials in the spa. It was soooooo nice. Didn't make me any prettier, but it sure felt and smelled wonderful. While I was waiting in the Relaxation Room (oooooh aaaaaah), there was a guy near me waiting for his massage. And you might be thinking, "Ruth, he's meditating. How inconsiderate of you to take a picture of him!" Okay, but wait. The entire time I was in there, he was slumped back into the cushions, snoring. A spa staffer came in, woke him up, and double-checked what kind of massage he was getting. He said  "hot stone" and sat in this position for a second and closed his eyes. I thought he was meditating, sure. But he started snoring again, sitting up. And then he slowly lowered his head and slumped back into the cushions, sound asleep. So, see...he was sleepitating. And it's okay to take pictures of people doing that.

Our third day onboard, we stopped in Ketchikan, a charming little Alaskan village. The majority of the town is built over water...all on stilts. They say you can swim underneath it all, but nobody has ever tried, so how do they know that? And how do they know no one has ever tried? You know that guy that's been missing for 15 years? Uh huh, he's still trying to find his way back out. Early that morning, we boarded a seaplane with 4 other folks and a pilot and headed out to the Misty Fjords. They put me in the tail of the plane, which was fine, because I got views out of both sides of the plane. And little Hugs got to ride in the cockpit. A dream come true for any guy I'm sure. 

(These pictures jump around a lot out of order because of how I loaded them, but it takes too long to get them in order, so there ya go.) 

The flight started off showing us the temperate rainforest of the Alaskan coastline...

Which slowly gave way to rising, snow-covered peaks...

And I kept thinking the whole time we were in the Misty Fjords, but no. The pilot kept saying, "When we get to the fjords...," and I was like, "Are we not in the fjords?" Oh, it was like entering a different world. The pictures don't do it justice at all. You can see in the above pictures how clear the sky was, except for low-lying clouds around the peaks, but it was clear around us. And out of nowhere, we see this wall of fog and he guided us into it. It was surreal and unearthly. Huge walls of rock rising up out of the sea, encased in mist, guarding coves of slate blue water. You could no longer see the sky. It was very Chronicles of Narnia.

Glacial waterfalls trickling down the sides.

Halfway into the fjords, the pilot lands in one of those coves and we passengers got out to stand on the plane floats to look around.

My little seat in the back.

It was so quiet and still. Everybody just kind of stood there, breathless. 

Taking off again. Btw, our pilot was about 12 years old and he flew the plane as casually as I would eat a muffin. David said he basically just had one hand on the steering wheel (I don't know what they're called in planes) and the other propped up on the window. I mean, I know he does this all day, every day, but how awesome is that.

Back out of the fog into the blue just like that. I don't even know how you would find the fjords. It's literally like a hidden, mystical place and you have to make three sunwise circles and clap your hands and say a chant to enter this realm.

This is the Rock of Something Something. It's over 200 feet tall and it was formed by a volcanic eruption however many years ago. If you're a student writing a paper about volcanic formations in the American Northwest, I would not quote me on that. But, there's an eagle's nest on top, so that's pretty cool.

Back to the marshes.

Back to Ketchikan and our waiting ship.

Our fun little plane. If you're in Ketchikan and have time, I highly recommend flying with Taquan Air to the Misty Fjords.

After our seaplane adventure, we had lunch on the ship and headed out to go kayaking.

We took a boat out to where the deserted beach where the kayaks were. Saw another bald eagle nest. See the parent? There were babies in there, but they were u.g.l.y. and tucked down further.

Taking us out to the Tatoosh Islands.

As I took this picture, a guy on the tour goes, "Is that a phone?" And I said, "Yeah, I'm just taking a few pictures with it. " And he goes, "Isn't that a little risky?" UH...DUH. That's why I'm holding onto it with both hands, dummy. I just said, "Yeah, I guess." But, I mean...chewing on your food is risky. I mean, why even say that? Well, I can assure you that I got pictures and he did not, because he doesn't take risks apparently. Is it risky? No, it's perfectly safe to hold a camera over water.

So, we start getting away from the coastline and the water starts getting a little more rough. That didn't bother me. The extra paddling we had to do annoyed me. See that little island WAAAAY out there. Well, our guide said she THOUGHT there might be sea lions out there, so we should go to check them out. We got about halfway there and I turned to David and said, "These better be the most freaking amazing sea lions in the world for us to go all the way out here."

And they were pretty cool.

See their little noggins?

We made it! This beach had the best skipping rocks I've ever seen.

Pretty chilly heading back.

Okay, out of order pictures. This is back on the seaplane, obviously. I look a little crazy. I was just so excited!

This is when we landed.

This is onboard the boat when we docked that morning. It's such a pretty town.

Another plane off in the distance.

See the little yellow plane in front of the waterfall?

For like $25 a night, you can rent a cabin in these woods. Most of the cabins are on the shorelines, but this is what you would have around you. A seaplane or boat takes you there and you can stay up to a week. No electricity. No running water. No nearby food source. No thank you. I'll stay on my cruise ship.

There's that famous rock again.

Back at the Tatoosh Islands.
So, you know, being have to pee all the time. We got to the island and some lady asked, "Is there a porta-potty set up here?" And the guide goes, "Well, yeah. I guess. We have a porta-potty-type situation." They told us to walk up the beach a little ways and look for an orange container. The "potty" would be up in the woods directly across from that. In the orange container was toilet paper. The lady goes first and I stand watch. Not watching HER, just making sure nobody else came up. And she did the same for me. I walk up into the woods. And there, behind a tree, was a painter's bucket. Yep. That was the potty. Dude, that's not a porta-potty. That's not even a situation. Oh, well, it did the job. You do what you gotta do.

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