Jun 7, 2012

Posted by in Blog, Featured, Personal | 8 Comments

I Moved To Alaska!

And it feels great. I am up in Southeast Alaska, in a little town called Ketchikan. I lived here during the summer of 2010 and really missed it. I am SO happy to be back.

What will I be doing here? Well, mostly working at a sea kayaking company. And, of course, blogging about my past travels.

Morning view of Ketchikan, Alaska

I will also be kayaking, fishing, hiking, and doing a lot of good eating.

So, where exactly am I calling home? Ketchi-what?

Ketchikan is called Alaska’s First City because it is the first stop on the way from Canada to Alaska. It is about as southeast as it gets.

It is also famous for being one of the rainiest cities in the world – topping in at 160-180 inches per year (over 13 feet)! That means that it rains, on average, 330 days a year here.

Girls wearing Xtratuf rainboots

Xtratuf rainboots (aka the Alaskan sneaker) are requisite here!

That sounds much worse than it is, however. A lot of the rain occurs in winter, and unlike in places like Seattle, where it is grey and drizzly a lot of the time, we’ll have several days of absolute, dramatic, holy-shit-the-world-is -going-to-end-rain, and then a few days of sun.

When I moved up here in 2010 from sunny Colorado, I thought the rain would drive me bonkers, but you really learn to live with it, to never carry an umbrella, and to appreciate the sunny (or even only slightly rainy) days.

The rain is also what makes this area one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been. It keeps everything green, and it makes the salmon, eagles, whales, and bears all happy.

Whale blowing while fishing

Look closely and you'll be able to see a humpback blowing in the distance!

I never thought I’d live in a temperate rainforest, and here I am living in the Tongass National Forest, which is the largest forest in the country at a whopping 17 million acres.

Another big reason I came back here is that I was jonesing (HARD) for some seafood. After the eyeball-filled, scaly, boney crap that they serve in Korea and call fish, I couldn’t wait to get back up here and eat whatever I could catch (which, so far, has been nothing – but we’re going to ignore that little detail for now).

It’s coming – Ketchikan isn’t called “The Salmon Capital of the World” for nothing!

Freshly caught meat of king salmon

That's a big hunk of freshly caught king salmon! (Not caught by me, but by a friend.)

And though I haven’t caught anything yet, Ketchikan works on a barter system, with the currency being fish. That’s another one of my favorite things about up here – do someone a favor, get some prime salmon, halibut, or crab in return.

So, not to worry — I have been eating like a king. (And eating lots of kings! Salmon, that is.)

Alaskan king salmon dinner

The town itself is wonderfully unique – filled with summer workers, fishermen, grumpy lifelong locals, Alaskan natives, and tourists. It is an unimaginably charming and eclectic mix of folks, and you will never be bored (or alone) for long at the bar.

My goals for this summer are, pretty much, to become more Alaskan.

I want to become a better fisherwoman, and more boaty… as in I’d like to learn more about boats. (I’ve been told by several boaty people that the first step to becoming more boaty is to not say boaty. Oh well.)

Evening fishing in Ketchikan, Alaska

It is such a foreign culture up here, with people getting their first boats before their first cars and just having an infinite amount of boaty knowledge.

Oftentimes, it feels like I am living in another country, only better, because I can buy Cheez-Its at the store, never have to worry about getting ripped off, and can watch college football at regular hours.

Sunset in Ketchikan, Alaska

It is going to be a fantastic season.

Thank you for following along on my journey, and please let me know if there are any other skills you think I should acquire this summer!

  1. Last summer I went to Churchill Manitoba and since then I have been fascinated with the Arctic, looking forward to all your Alaska stories.

    • Ahhh, there are polar bears up there, right? I’d love to go there. No polar bears here, unfortunately, but plenty of brown and black!

  2. That looks beautiful! Looking forward to reading more about your kayaking adventures.

  3. OH! You are so lucky!!!! I lived in Juneau for a while and visited Ketchikan. I think southeast Alaska is the most beautiful place in the world. And your pictures are gorgeous. Just how I remembered it.

    • Awesome! I definitely feel lucky every day up here. You’re right – it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been (if not THE most beautiful!).

  4. Hi Susan,

    Ketchikan is a nice place!

    We were there during our recent Alaska cruise and went on a bear watching shore excursion.. :)
    Tommy (via Discover . Book . Travel) recently posted..Alaska Cruise Trip – The Story so far…My Profile

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