Seniors Head North To Ketchikan
Ketchikan, population 8,214, is an Alaskan city that senior travelers will find facing the Inside Passage, a popular cruise route along the state’s southeastern coast. It’s known for its many Native American totem poles, on display throughout the town.
Ketchikan is known as Alaska’s “first city” due to its location at the southern tip of the Inside Passage. This city, 689 miles northwest of Seattle, is the first city you reach as you cruise north, and for many visitors, their first introduction to the beauty and majesty of Alaska.
Nearby Misty Fiords National Monument is a glacier-carved wilderness that features snow capped mountains, waterfalls and salmon spawning streams. It’s also home to rich wildlife including black bears, wolves and bald eagles.
Seniors Like The Totem Poles
Its history goes back to 1885 when a fellow named Mike Martin purchased 160 acres of land from Chief Kyan, and this area later became the township of Ketchikan.
The Cape Fox Tlingits and Tongass used Ketchikan Creek as a fish camp. They called the area ‘kitschk-hin.’ The large resources of timber and fish attracted the non-natives to Ketchikan. In 1892, the Ketchikan Post Office was established. Seven canneries were in operation by 1936. Later on, several lumber mills opened in the city.
The living, artistic traditions of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian peoples gave rise to the original totem poles that are on display in The Totem Heritage Center. Senior visitors can enjoy the Ketchikan Public Library, the oldest continually-operating library in the State of Alaska, founded in 1901.
Seniors Enjoy Alaska’s First City
There are a good number of lakes like Fawn Lake and Scout Lake, where your chances of landing one are good, so toss in your best rod and reel. I’d want to visit the Tongass Historical Museum where seniors will learn the history of Alaska’s feisty “First City.” The Museum tells the authentic tale of Ketchikan as a Native fish camp, gold and copper mining center, fishing port, timber town, cannery site, transportation hub, and lively community.
Then there’s Dolly’s House – the only “den of iniquity” that still stands today at Number 24 Creek Street. Its green dollhouse appearance looks much like it did during its heyday. Inside you’ll find photos of Dolly, the cabbage rose wallpaper she favored, and you might even spot the “secret closet” in Dolly’s bedroom, where she stashed contraband liquor during the Prohibition years.
The 40 acre Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, 8 miles from Ketchikan, has tall stands of spruce, hemlock and cedar trees with a forest floor saturated with mosses, wild flowers and a variety of berries.
Ketchikan, the fifth most populous city in the state, is truly the beginning of the last frontier. Set at the southernmost entrance to Alaska’s famed Inside Passage—a network of waterways that snake through some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful wilderness in the world—Ketchikan is best known for three things: feisty salmon, idyllic scenery, and an incredibly rich Alaska Native culture.
Seniors, enjoy Ketchikan. -jeb