Ketchikan – It’s Easier to Pronounce than Revillagigedo

The commercial pier at Ketchikan is in the heart of the city

Ketchikan, Alaska

Located on the island of Revillagigedo in the inland passage of Alaska, Ketchikan houses a population of a little over 8,000. The residents boast of their rainy weather, advertising 14 to 16 feet (between 4 and 5 meters) of rain a year. On the day we arrive, it would be a typical Ketchikan weather pattern, low ceilings in the morning and periods of rain throughout the day.

The low cloud ceiling dissipated by mid morning but the clouds and periods of rain lasted throughout our short stay

Our stay in Ketchikan would be short, arriving at 6 AM and departing at 1:30 PM. Our excursion for the day would be a zipline tour 100-plus feet up in a rainforest area. We board a bus that takes the group to the base of the zipline company’s area and then board a large transport capable of taking a small group of people up the steep inclines to the edge of a cliff where we would start the zipline trip.

Our chariot made the slow, steep climb to the top of a cliff where we launched for our first zip of the day

There would be no time for shopping… well, that’s not exactly true. We had ample time in the Alaska Canopy gift shop to purchase any number of the typical “I Survived The Zipline” t-shirts, sweats, mugs, photos of us flying on the zipline, ad nauseum. I will admit my wife, Lynn, and I walked away with a couple bags of souvenirs.

The author on the final zip of the day

The zipline contains a total of seven zips, the longest of which is about 750 ft (229 m), and three suspension bridges. Our party of five, including Lynn and myself, my sister and her friend, and my nephew, were hosted by a pair of very safety conscious guides. The zipline consists of two cables and each person has two safety straps that are always connected to cabling on the small tree stands between zips. At the beginning of the zip, each of us is taught proper technique for braking at the end of the zip, and given instruction on how to be sure to reach the end of the zip without having to “hand-over-hand” to make it to the end. Departure from one of the tree stands commences with one of the guides doing the first zip, the other staying behind until all the guests are “launched.” Even the suspension bridges have a cable above the bridge where the two safety straps attach. A walkie-talkie set is used to let the other guide know when each person is safely on the new stand and that it’s OK to release the next guest.

I would not be taking along my Nikon D7000 so any photo ops would have to be handled by my cell phone, and I would not take any photos on the zip tour preferring instead to keep my cell phone safely tucked in my front pocket. Though it is possible to sight wildlife along the zip, most of us are too busy enjoying the fast ride and looking straight ahead to be ready for the sudden stop at the end. On the platforms and on the suspension bridges, however, we see a couple of bears and lots of salmon swimming upstream. A salmon cannery is located nearby.

I submit for your approval a gallery of photos taken at Ketchikan. The gallery contains mostly images taken of the island and the city from the upper deck of the cruise ship. The photos of me on the zipline and of the group were taken by a company photographer, prints available for purchase in the gift shop before we return to the ship. Click on any of the small images to enlarge and to scroll through the gallery.


Our party of five (in the red hats) were hosted by two guides that routinely checked our harnesses along the way

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