Ok, you looked online, saw beautiful pictures of clear days, big fish, and whales watching kayakers so you booked your tickets to Ketchikan. Good job. Here’s what you need to know:
- The hike to the Deer Mountain trailhead is almost as long and painful as the hike itself. Your khakis and button-ups aren’t going to cut it. Either call a cab to escort you up or forget it. There’s nothing sadder than seeing poor 8-year old Billy being forced up the mountain by his overzealous dad who was a 3rd team all-conference in high school and won’t back down from anything, and mother who looks like a Lululemon model. I have honestly thought about rolling down the window and telling them to turn back now. I never have, partially because it’s entertaining to see how far dad’s gotten on the way back down the hill.
- It’s going to rain. Sometimes it rains and rains and rains for 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. Ketchikan averages 229 days of rainfall a year. You may see more rain in the one day you’re here than you’ve seen your entire life. And not that the plastic ponchos aren’t flattering but the locals will make fun of you for wearing it. Zero percent of people look cool while wearing a poncho. So ditch the clear plastic sheath and bring your own coat. This is a rainforest people!
- While I’m on apparel. The docks are made of big long boards of wood. There’s a gap between them just big enough for the heel of your stilettos to fall into. So please don’t forget to pack your three-inch heels because I haven’t seen anyone bite it yet and this summer might be my last opportunity to. Shorts are another must. Even if it’s raining sideways you will assert your dominance over everyone by wearing shorts. And don’t even think about packing a hat and gloves because you definitely won’t need them. When everyone is back home telling their stories of their trip to Alaska, they will remember you and wish they were more like you, shorts guy.
- Disclaimer, your tour guide cannot summon whales and bears at will. There are no chain link fences in the ocean or the forest, animals can roam wherever they please. The whales and bears don’t care that you paid to go see them. An authentic Alaskan experience isn’t the pictures shown in your brochure.
- You will not catch a record-setting King Salmon on your 4-hour charter. Depending on how the season is going, you’ll be lucky to even catch a king. And honestly, once your fish has been processed and packaged none of your neighbors have to know that it’s just a little pinky. Also! In the same way, your whale watching guides can’t magically produce whales, all your captain can do is put four lines in the water and wait. So, don’t bug them about the lack of fish, you’re in Alaska, be grateful.