Summer is ending, and so it seems appropriate that my posts on our Alaska trip are coming to an end with this installment. It really was a nice trip. We took a Hawaiian cruise five years ago, and in most ways I think I prefer this Alaska trip over the Hawaii one.
Our final port was Ketchikan.
Ketchikan is a town of about 8000 along Alaska’s Inside Passage. It’s known for totem poles, so off we went on a city bus to Totem Bight State Historical Park, which had them in spades.
There was a nice path to walk that took us past many totem poles, as well as the “Clan House” of the Tlingit and Haida natives who had lived (and still live) in the area. The park also had a nice pond and nature area, so we spent a while there as well.
This being a temperate rain forest, there were creatures like this huge (but harmless) banana slug.
It was a gorgeous place. If you are even in Ketchikan — go there!
Ketchikan’s Creek Street
Back in town, we walked to Creek Street. This is the city’s old shopping district, and it had a quaint look. It reminded me a lot of Nashville, Indiana, if you’ve ever been there.
We did a little looking in the touristy souvenir shops along the dock as well, and with that, we called it a day and got back on board the Zaandam.
Take Your Whole Family on Cruises Without a College Degree
And that, my friends, wraps up our Alaska cruise. My mom generously took all three of her daughters and our families on this cruise, as well as the Hawaii cruise in 2011. When I tell people this, I always have the uncomfortable feeling that people are thinking we’re wealthy or something, when this is far from the truth. My mom has a high school education and has worked for 20 years or so as a tutor at the middle school. But, she is very frugal, and in this way she saved enough to take 12 people on 2 nice cruises. Twice!
I am much the same way, so I can attest to the fact that this works. Back in my single teaching days, I lived very frugally during the school year. Then, in the summer, I often went to Europe for two or three weeks. When people asked how I did this “on a teacher’s salary!”, I wondered how much detail they wanted. The frugal lifestyle involves going to the customer service desk to request .40 when you see that an item rang up at too high a price. It involves picking up pennies in the parking lot when you see them. It means that my new clothes this season has consisted of a $2 shirt from Goodwill. When I once heard that the average life of a pair of socks was 6 months, I laughed. I have socks I’ve worn for ten years. It’s a lifestyle — and while it’s certainly not for everyone, the rewards have been well worth it to me.
This reminds me of a MOPS group conversation from years ago. Each of us moms had to name what we wished for most, for our kids. The other moms were all saying, “happiness,” etc. I said, “the ability to delay gratification.” I think most of them thought I was nuts, but seriously — how many of life’s difficulties could be solved if we just bucked up a little and hung on?
How about you? Have you ever visited Ketchikan? Picked up a penny? 🙂