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Arti disappeared from Cowtown for a few days and reappeared in Ketchikan, Alaska.  That’s the cause for the delay in replying some of your comments from the last post.  I decided to rid myself of all internet and phone access so I could make these short few days a real getaway.

But herein lies the nagging dilemma:  Is there a better way to access nature other than the commercial route?  Arti had to follow the crowd and board a cruise ship, not her choice of transport, but … what are the options?

So here it is, a visual account of my journey at sea to Ketchikan, the south-western tip of Alaska, north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

We set sail at the Canada Place Terminal.  On deck looking out, Port Vancouver’s famous architectural sails look slightly surreal, a virtual outdoor gallery of sculptures larger than life:

Canada Place View from Deck

Leaving Port Vancouver:

Leaving Port of Vancouver

After a couple of days at sea, we arrived at Ketchikan, Alaska.  Among  other things like being the salmon capital of the world, Ketchikan is famous for its rain, measuring its precipitation in feet, not inches.

Here’s Ketchikan under overcast sky:

Ketchikan under overcast sky

A little  more cheery scene:

Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan is also home to The Tongass Rain Forest, the largest national forest in the United States.  It is part of the Pacific Temperate Rain Forest Region, which is second in size to the world’s largest Amazon Tropical Rain Forest.

Moss on treesArti ventured into this area with a naturalist. Together with 15 others in our group, we trod the trails of the Alaska Rain Forest Sanctuary.  Here are the sights I’ve sailed all the way for:

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Berries UndergrowthColorful undergrowth

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MushroomOne of the many species of mushrooms, some giant ones grow on trees.

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Devil's Paw Food for the BearsDevil’s Paw, food for the bears.  Underneath are poisonous hooks, but the bears deftly eat off the stems of the plant.

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Ferns and mossFerns and moss: Even tree branches are covered with moss.  As the branches grow heavier, they will break off the tree, fulfilling a natural pruning process.

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Momentarily, we came to a creek.  Yes, salmon swam up here: Right in the middle of a rain forest we saw gulls gathering, competing with the bears for the salmon in the water.  We were fortunate to see a mother bear with two cubs.  Here in this fuzzy (sorry, Arti was too excited) photo, you can see, even though ‘bearly’, the mother and one of her cubs on the left:

Bears having lunch

And this next one is out of this world.  Gulls flying all around above the creek, a magical, even mythical sight to behold:

Rainforest Gulls

Reindeer

We next visited a reindeer farm.  I’ve seen elks and deers in my neck of the woods in Alberta, but this is the first time I saw reindeers.  Here’s a curious fella:

When we left Ketchikan, it was pouring rain:

Leaving Ketchikan in the rain

On our way back to Vancouver, we cruised through the Inside Passage.  It offered one of the most beautiful sights in the whole journey:

Sailing through the Inside Passage

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Of course, it’s Arti’s nature to find ripples everywhere:

Ripples

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Ripples 3

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The Inside Passage at dusk, the silence punctuated only by the calls of gulls and frolicking dolphins splashing in and out of the quiet water.  Yes, I saw the synchronized dances of two dolphins jumping out of the water and diving back in, but it was just too impromptu to capture by my camera.

The Inside Passage at Dusk

This is my best memory, sunset along the Inside Passage:

Sunset in the Inside Passage

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Photos taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, September, 09.  All Rights Reserved.

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