"Alaska was everything I dreamt of and more! What an Incredible Place.. I just have to go back!"
Written by: Jacques
Alaska is vast, unforgiving and truly .. truly wild. For anyone who is not familiar with Alaska then you may be familiar with the movie- Into The Wild? Yep that bus exists and multiple tourists have had to be rescued trying to find it. Alaska is so big that there is no way I will be able to do a thorough job of describing my trip in just the one blog. So Part I will cover The trip up to and around Ketchikan. Well lets get started with the first stage of our trip.. A ferry ride from Bellingham, WA to Ketchikan, AK.
A ferry leaves from Bellingham, WA every Friday on a week long trip up towards Alaska and along the Alaskan coastline stopping at several towns along the way before reaching Whittier and turning back. This was our choice of transport. The ferry is affordable, a unique experience (you can camp on top of the boat if you want) and it takes you along one of the most incredible coastlines in the world.
If you are interested in booking a ferry trip like ours up the inside Passage you can visit THIS SITE for booking information and ticket purchases.
The Inside Passage
So what is The Inside Passage? It is a coastal route used by cruise ship companies, fishing boats, Alaska Marine Highway(ferries), BC Ferries and Washington State Ferries as a safe passage. The passage helps the vessels avoid the open ocean and associated bad weather. The route extends from South Eastern Alaska, through Western BC in Canada, to northwestern Washington State in the US. But...
It is also one of the most spectacular coastal passages on the planet. The scenery is just incredible. But the passage offers much more than just scenery. You are likely to see; The northern Lights, Humpback Whales, Orcas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Seals, Bears, Moose, Bald Eagles and the occasional dear. Yeah to say it was an amazing trip is an understatement. It is 100% a bucket list must do.
Ketchikan- Day One Bear River
So in total we spent 3 days in Ketchikan and although it was amazing I think in hindsight 2 days would have been more than enough.
You have a few options for getting around Ketchikan.
You can Walk.. It is a pretty small town and if you really need to get somewhere locals are generally happy to let you hitch.
You can hire a car. This is probably the most convenient option but it means spending more money and Alaska ain't cheap. There are three rental car companies in Ketchikan; Budget Car Rental, Alaska Car Rental and First City Car Rental. On average you are looking at between $50-$75 US dollars per day or around $330-$380 per week. So it can add up. But the freedom is definitely worth it, the majority of the amazing sights you see in Alaska are off the beaten tracks or while driving in the middle of nowhere.
We stayed at Eagle View Hostel, run by Ketchikan local Dale Rogers. The place was perfect for what we needed and Dale definitely provided some interesting conversation. He had some interesting points of view but all in all he was a lovely man and very accomodating. Dale even offered to drive us out to a 'locals only' bear viewing area free of charge.
You do have other options. I know of at least three hotels in Ketchikan but the trade off is a nightly cost roughly 5-8 times what you would pay in the Hostel.
Watching Black Bears Catch Salmon
So the evening that we arrived Dale offered to take us down to a locals only creek to watch Black Bears feed on the Salmon. I will be totally honest I was not expecting much so when I arrived and saw how many black bears there were I was ecstatic. We watched the bears for what felt like hours until our hands and toes went numb. Bald Eagles joined the fray and I even witnessed a Bald Eagle stand off with a Black bear over a dieing Salmon (poor salmon).
This is one of the perks of staying at Eagle View Hostel.
Next Stop Juneau
In the next part of this blog I will be diving into our brief but amazing trip to Juneau. Including; Glaciers, hikes and more incredible wildlife sightings. CHECK OUT Part II
Thanks for reading our blogs gals/guys. We hope you enjoy them and benefit from our tips and tricks during your own travels. Let us know in the comments below.
Keep the adventure alive,
Jacques | Massie Bros
Massie Bro's | Paulo | Jacques