Thursday, July 22, 2010


I've been trying to wrap my mind around my column today. I had most of it planned out this morning but over my lunch hour I found out about a death in my extended family and haven't been able to think of anything else since. I've been upset for most of the afternoon but I think that writing this would be the best thing for me. I need to take a step out of my own head and do something that would make me happy. But forgive me if this isn't quite as good as it should be. The city was fascinating, my head just isn't there.
The city of Ketchikan
Ketchikan is something of a tourist town but that doesn't mean that it isn't incredibly beautiful. And interesting. The city is currently a fishing port and a lumber city but the history of the city is what kept me interested. After stepping off the boat we were surrounded by the standard port city sights (meaning tourist shop after tourist shop after tourist shop, with a ton of jewelry stores mixed in). But we quickly walked past those and right into a beautiful park. With all the extra sunshine and extra rain, Alaska's flowers are extra beautiful. The park, Whale Park, was an oasis of calm in a sea of knickknacks. But the great thing about it was that it lead us to Creek Street, and that ended up being the most interesting part of the city.

Creek Street

Creek Street is exactly what it sounds like. The street is cut by a creek during low tide and a rushing river during high tide. The creek runs heavily through the city, serving as an outlet for salmon and some of the more questionable elements of the city. Creek Street was the red light district for Ketchikan. It was filled with bars and brothels and I loved every minute of it. We toured Dolly's House, the residence of Ketchikan's most famous madam. This woman was still turning tricks at 70 and was making $75-$100 a day in her prime (at $3 a pop that's a lot of tricks). She even used French silk condoms to decorate her bathroom. As a condom collector, I was in heaven.

Dolly's Condom Flowers
The brothels lead us to the Married Man's Walk, a great hiking trail that climbed up into the mountains behind Ketchikan. It was the path that many of the married men used to visit the red light district secretly, and weaving through the trees and waterfalls, I could see how it would be perfect secret. It was a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the tourists. For most of the trail we were completely alone.

Hiking the Married Man's Walk
After hiking we went shopping in a little bookstore where I bought way too many books. Then we headed over to the Great American Lumberjack Show, a must see in Ketchikan. Jeff and I have been fans of the Great Outdoor Games for quite a while so I was pretty excited to see some lumberjacks in action. The show was cheesy and touristy but fun. Jeff took some great pictures. When the show finished it was time to leave Ketchikan. We headed back to the boat and set sail early that afternoon for Juneau. Which will be tomorrow...maybe.


Salt said...

What? No tag for "Lumberjack"?


Cat B said...

I have to laugh because I started typing that exact tag then thought better of it and deleted it. :-P