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Alaska Triplog: Day 12-13

Tuesday and Wednesday, May 17-18, 2005: Anchorage, AK to Ketchikan,AK...OK, I’m back! It’s obvious that I have missed a day. I hope you didn't miss me too much. Tuesday we had a photo shoot at the top end of Eklutna Lake just outside of Anchorage where they have a little strip in the mountains. We did quite a bit up there and then we ran around the corner to the Knik Glacier and flew the gorge before heading back to town.
When we got back to Anchorage we loaded up all of our stuff and prepped the KODIAK for heading south. We were originally going to head out for Juneau on Wednesday morning, but we had an invite to a lodge that was on our way and would break the trip in half while allowing us to get to Juneau a couple of hours earlier. Paul and Donna Claus offered a night at Ultima Thule Outfitters and I just couldn't resist. I used to work on some of Paul’s airplanes when I lived in Anchorage. Their place is in the Wrangell Mountains and is a base for mountain climbers all summer long. Paul operates Super Cubs, a 185, and a Turbine Otter on wheel skis. We got to meet a bunch of climbers waiting for a break in the weather on the mountain so the Otter could get them in. After a fantastic dinner filled with the swapping of believable and unbelievable stories we headed off to our cabin for a restful night.

It has been a good trip but we are glad to be heading home.
Wednesday morning started with a walk around the KODIAK where we were greeted by the sled dogs. We grabbed a few chocolate chip cookies from grandma’s kitchen and we hit the trail. Lynn commented about how he felt so rested that the need for coffee this morning wasn’t apparent, unbelievable. And...off we went.
Taking off towards Juneau we went right between Mt. Logan and St. Elias and then across the Bagley Icefield.The weather was picture perfect as we headed on down the coast. We landed at Juneau International at 9:30 AM.
First things first, we had to clean the airplane. I think yesterday we killed every bug between Anchorage and Ultima Thule! The good news is we cleared it out for everyone else. As we cleaned the airplane we had a steady stream of onlookers who had heard we were coming and didn’t want to miss out.
After Kilo-Quebec was clean and the stream of people slowed down we borrowed the courtesy car and headed to town for lunch. The cruise ships take over these small towns on the coast. They park them right in town and it is amazing how big these ships are; I suspect that when three of them are at dock they double the population,WOW!
After lunch at the Alaskan Hotel we walked the streets for a while to get the flavor and the then back to the airport.We met with a few more people and then headed on down the coast for Ketchikan. We passed Petersburg, Wrangell, and numerous ships and barges before finding the narrows leading into Ketchikan. Ketchikan’s airport is on an island and you have to take a ferry ride to town which adds to the experience. Once again people were expecting us. We had sent out flyers prior to heading out for Alaska that spelled out what days we expected to be in these towns. We saw a bunch of these around Anchorage at all the FBO’s and operators that we visited and that wasn’t surprising. What caught us off guard is that when we started hitting the coastal towns we are seeing faxed copies of our flyer posted around. People are excited enough to pass these along by fax.That's fantastic! We really appreciate everyone’s help in getting the word spread.

After crossing the water by ferry, we got a van ride to town where we stayed in a small hotel right across the street from the Cruise Ships. There was a new ship this morning that wasn’t there last night and it's easy to say to yourself, “Where’d that building come from?"
I will be sure to write tonight from wherever we end up, and let you know how we are doing. We expect to be in Seattle on Friday and Saturday morning before heading home. Friday, you should expect us at the Arlington Airport and Saturday, you can look for us at Boeing Field. I hope you can come see us.

Thanks Paul and Donna,