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Day 17: Monday, August 15, 2005
Juneau, AK to Prince Rupert, BC

Nice lazy day today of ferry cruising and relaxing. When I woke up, we were in Petersburg; I wrote the previous entry, and by the time I finished we were in the Wrangell Narrows, which is a fascinating 20-mile channel almost absurdly narrow, which was narrated and explained by the USFS guy in the observation lounge. I didn't see much wildlife on this segment of the ferry journey, though I did hear people murmuring about humpback whales that had been sighted on the opposite side of the ship; by the time I found out where they were, they were gone. Oh well.

After exiting the Narrows, we turned toward Wrangell, which we reached at about 2:00; I got off to take some photos of the quaint downtown and the little totem park. Paul is still pretty zorched, so he spent most of the day dozing. But it turns out that not only are we sharing the solarium with Ted (the grizzled old Juneau native we met last night), but also with Scott and David, the two guys from Missouri that were on our flight to Barrow! We'd known they might be on this very vessel, but it was still fun to find them here after all. So the conversations throughout the day were lots of fun, and I got tips on the road ahead through BC from Ted. Had lunch and dinner in the cafeteria—French dip and clam chowder for lunch (Ted joined me, and we had some nice backfence-philosophy discussions of the issues of the day), shrimp salad and a hot dog for dinner. Quite satisfactory, if a little understandably pricey. We docked in Ketchikan just as the sun was setting in a rare non-rainy sky, and as we discovered cell phone service was available, I called home to check in with Mom & Dad and let them know we're still on schedule (I haven't had an opportunity to update the blog in the last few days). In this conversation I found out that my dad has been spending the past few days tearing up the old back deck on the house... and what should he find under the old redwood planks but the skeleton of Irma, the original Alaska Highway cat, who had vanished without a trace when she reached the age of about 14. So that's one mystery come to a rather spooky and timely end.

Now we're turning in—gotta be up early tomorrow, as we're landing at 6:15, and that's BC time, so it's really 5:15, and they'll wake us up an hour beforehand. Then it's a full day of driving. Here goes nothing!

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© 2005 Brian Tiemann