Ketchikan is a rugged little community populated
by many men who make a living as "lumberjacks". In addition to
the plentiful fish, Ketchikan has long been a logging community.
In homage to its rich tradition as a logging town, Ketchikan is home
to a terrific lumberjack show which several of our group was fortunate
While Juneau is considered home to Alaska's "Elite", Ketchikan is a
working man's community. Rich people aren't welcome here, but
hard-working men are.
|The Creek Street
There is no other way to put this delicately so I will just blurt it
Ketchikan is the place where "Real Men" come to live. It is such a
tough town that when the travel guide got to the part where it had to
discuss Ketchikan's cultural heritage, the pamphlet didn't bother
discussing the museums or historical monuments. Instead the travel
guide spoke about
"Creek Street", better known as Katchaman's Red Light District.
Indeed, Katchaman is so proud of its heritage, they have
actually restored many of the former houses of ill-repute to pristine
condition and now trumpet them as a major tourist
Even more impressive, Katchaman created a Hall of Fame dedicated to
its most talented ladies of the night. Most places might prefer
to call it a 'House of Shame', but not Katchaman. Like the
infamous Mustang Ranch in Nevada, Katchaman was no place for modesty
when it came to bragging about its brothels.
They even had Brothel celebrities! In particular, the most famous madam,
a lady named Dolly, had her house restored and turned into a historic
museum. I listened to a local bus driver tell one story after
another about this woman. Apparently Dolly was still in
business up to just a few years ago. The guy went on and on
about special paths to her door plus special rates for certain
customers. His favorite story was how she continued her "service" for
free after the authorities shut her down. She was worried what would
happen to her various men if they got cut off.
I could almost feel the awe in his voice when he said she was still
working into her late fifties! Then she retired and put herself
in a Retirement Home, but she was "never lonely" because people came
to see her all the time...
I was curious enough about Dolly to check her out on the Internet.
Sure enough, two words "dolly" and "ketchikan" brought me right to her
"Dolly Arthur, nee Thelma Copeland of rural
Idaho mining country, was a Ketchikan resident from 1919 until her
death in July 1975. She is probably Ketchikan's most famous person
today. Dolly said her attraction for men was one of her best traits.
"I just liked men and they liked me, too!"
My trip to Alaska was without a doubt a marvelous
adventure filled with joy and elation
at all times. But if I had one regret other than being deceived by
Alaska's abundant wildlife promise, that regret would be that no one
from our group would admit to visiting the Red Light District at Creek
Street or produce any incriminating pictures. Who knows what kind of
story I could have written with just a little support from my group?
But it wouldn't hurt to speculate, now would it? After all, I
have never in my life come across a town so proud of its Scarlet
Women. Since I am cursed with a fatal curiosity, I would have
found a particularly informative guide and asked a few innocent
- How did the women cope with the fish smell?
- Did they keep any statistics?
- If so, were there any records set that Guinness might be interested
- Did they vote on a "Hooker of the year"?
- Since Katchaman is so famous for lumberjack competitions, were there
also friendly competitions between teams from the different brothels?
- Did they have an All-star team?
- Did the lumberjacks and the hookers ever combine their particular
skills to have special events?
- Any climbing contests or things done from the top of poles?
- Any exhibitions done while log rolling?
- What did Dolly do to become the most prolific lady of the night in
- Who were the judges and what qualified them
I had a few other questions in mind, but I wouldn't want anyone to
think this web site is in any way tawdry or prurient so I guess I will
have to stop here.
Too bad. I was just get warmed up.
While no one would admit visiting Creek Street, several members of our
group did visit the Lumberjack exhibition.
This is a subject that I feel uncomfortable writing about, but the
truth was that our women were pretty starved for male attention on
We had lots of men in our group, but the majority of them were with
their wives and girlfriends. And one of the few available
bachelors on the trip, Kevin Lee, got engaged to the lovely Michelle Spiris
just one day before the trip started. Cross another cute guy
off the list!
As a result, the few remaining available men such as Don Juan Schmidt
and Mr. Hat (Gary Schweinle) were forced to work themselves to
exhaustion trying to keep the single girls happy. It could not
have been easy. Sad to say, Mr. Hat suffered a serious injury in
a private area. I have been too embarrassed to pry, but it seems
possible that he incurred his injury trying to help out. Perhaps he
should get a "Purple Heart" or maybe some other kind of medal?
Good sport that he is, Mr. Hat claimed it had something to do with
lifting luggage, but on the other hand what else would a perfect
gentleman like Gary say??
The bottom line was that some of our ladies were, shall we say, a bit
lonely. Perhaps it was no coincidence that practically every one
of our single girls purchased expensive Front Row seats for the
lumberjack exhibition. After all, these guys were cute!
Frankly, I was a little worried that the girls might have a "Katchaman"
Competition of their very own and end up missing the boat. That pole
climbing competition had to be tough to watch. And watching those huge
biceps chopping down those trees, well, let's just say it's a
testimony to the inner strength of our SSQQ women that they made it
back on board in time to sail.
The competition that made our girls drool was the log-rolling
competition. I know this is a delicate topic, but different
woman have unusual weaknesses they prefer not to make public. Another
way to say this is that certain women are turned
on by certain things that men do.
Our women in particular go
nuts over fast feet. You ever see women screaming at River
Dance? Same thing here. Why else would they be so attracted to men
who can dance? The moment they get on the floor and see those
shuffle ball changes, it is a wonder that they can continue to breathe
or stand up when
they get so flushed. Watching those big tall husky men in
suspenders and flannel shirts doing their version of River Dance up on
top of those big long thick log shaft had to drive them practically out
of their minds. It is a wonder we didn't lose any of them.
The Totem Poles
Another popular stop in Katchaman was the Totem Pole Village.
Katchaman is noted for the world's largest collection of totem poles.
As you can see from the pictures, there is an entire park filled with
totem poles. I found it curious that the travel guide listed the
Red Light District in Ketchikan before the Totem Pole Village and
devoted twice as much copy to "Creek Street" as to its Indian
heritage, but it really isn't my place to comment on the
I thought the pictures of the totem poles were fabulous. As you
can see, the carvings were intricate and very beautiful. This
was definitely a popular destination with our group.
I spent the day with my family visiting the Misty Fjords National
Park. Situated 30 miles east of Katchaman, the Misty Fjords
comprise a stunning array of the most beautiful scenery I have ever
All day long I was inundated with facts about Katchaman being the
Lumberjack Capital of the World, the Salmon Capital of the World, the
Totem Pole Capital of the World, the Rainiest City in the World, and
the Red Light Capital of the World, but I attributed all of that to
hype created by an over-imaginative publicist.
If anyone had thought about it, I think a case could be made for Katchaman being the "Waterfall Capital of the World". With
all that rain, the water has to go somewhere, right?
Everywhere I looked, I spotted another waterfall. There isn't that
much elevation around Katchaman, but once you get to the Misty Fjords,
there are spectacular water drops that take your breath away.
Actually the entire place took my breath away. Marla, Marissa,
Sam, and I took a bush plane flight into the area. Words simply
cannot do justice to how beautiful this area is.
Since the bush plane is pretty noisy, our pilot gave us headphones to
tune the noise out. This made conversation difficult, so he
played music instead. While we flew over the Misty Fjords, we listened
to the New Age music of Enya and other Celtic artists. With the music
casting a spell over me and the scenery so magnificent, I felt like Odysseus
tied to the masts as his ship passed through the maddeningly beautiful music of
I went into a deep trance that I can honestly say was one of the
happiest moments of my life.
Created by receding glaciers, the Misty Fjords are a vast, endless
wilderness collection of thick forests, dark blue mountain lakes,
channels, islands, bays, rivers, streams, and waterfalls. There
are steep granite cliffs that rise thousands of feet above the narrow
waterways below that were carved out of the rock by glaciers during
the ice age. Adding to the mystical nature of the event were ever-present mists
and clouds that made you feel like you were entering the Norwegian Fjords
of the Vikings.
Our bush pilot added to the drama by flying low through gaps between the
granite cliffs. We literally cut through canyons and bowls. None
of us were totally okay with how close he flew to the sides of these
gigantic mountains, but it definitely ratcheted up the excitement.
It was truly the experience of a lifetime. I was in ecstasy.
And I definitely did NOT want to return to civilization.
When Andy, our pilot, landed the plane in the middle of a mountain
lake, I wanted to jump off the plane, swim to shore, build a log cabin
and live happily ever after. I could spend my life catching salmon, watching
waterfalls, kayaking through streams, hiking over meadows,
and meditating on the meaning of life.
Then it dawned on me how lonely I would be without Marla. It wouldn't
be any fun without her to share it with.
As she and I stood on the pontoons of the plane craning our eyes
fruitlessly for signs of abundant wildlife, I casually asked, "How
would you like to build a log house on that island over there and live
happily ever after with me?"
She furrowed her brows and frowned. "Are you out of your mind?
It gets cold up here! Get on the plane."
Back to reality.
On the flight back to Katchaman, I couldn't
shake my haunting desire to escape civilization for the Alaskan
solitude. The Misty Fjords were calling to me.
When the plane landed, Andy asked me to help him tie it up to dock.
Marla, Sam, and Marissa went on ahead.
I decided to ask Andy a question. "Do you ever get tired of seeing the
same sights all the time? Does it ever get old?"
"Never. I see something new every day. I love my job."
"Do you ever dream of living somewhere else?"
"No way. I love living here."
"Do you ever get any hermits, you know, people who come up here and go
live in a cabin?"
Andy smiled at me. "I know exactly what you are thinking. You want to
go live on one of those islands."
I blushed. Was this guy a mind-reader?
He continued, "I get people who fall in love with this place and want
to leave everything to come live here.
What you don't realize is just how brutal the winters are. Right
now this place is paradise, but during a blizzard I guarantee anywhere
in the world is better than Alaska. But the worst part is the
Sometime when you are stuck in your cabin for days or weeks on end
till the snow clears, the loneliness will absolutely eat you up."
Andy could see I was mulling over what he had said. He
watched me for a moment, then decided to continue.
"People go utterly mad during the winter. Let me tell you a story
about how crazy people get up here when they are lonely."
As Andy spoke, I had a flashback to Bulldog Bob. Was this what
they mean by deja vu??
"I have a distant cousin named Kevin. He had been in business down
in the Lower 48 selling car insurance and life insurance. His
girlfriend met some guy on a cruise and ditched him.
Kevin was sick of women, sick of the stress, and needed a change.
had visited this place a couple times and really loved what he saw. He
figured this was the right place. He had always been an outdoors kind
of guy, so he sold his business and came up here to Ketchikan.
Kevin bought 50 acres a few miles up Ketchikan Creek near the Deer
Mountain Fish Hatchery. Now he was about as far from humanity as
He came into town about once a month to pick up his mail and buy some
groceries. Otherwise it's total peace and quiet.
But back in January, I got a cell phone call from Kevin. He said
he needed to talk to somebody about something that had happened. It sounded to me like something was bothering him.
It seems that after six months or so of almost total isolation, one
day someone knocked on his door.
He opened it and there was a big, bearded man standing there. Kevin had
to take a step back 'cause the guy stunk to high heaven.
"Name's Lars ...Your neighbor from four miles away.... Having a
Christmas party Tuesday ... Thought you might like to come. About
"Great," says Kevin, "after six months out here I'm ready to meet some
local folks. Thank you."
As Lars is leaving, he stops. "Gotta warn you... There's gonna be some
"Not a problem... after 25 years in business, I can drink with the
best of 'em."
Again, as he starts to leave, Lars stops. "More'n' likely gonna be
some fightin' too."
Kevin says, "Well, I generally get along with people, but I can hold my
own in wrestling match. I'm not worried. I'll be there. Thanks again."
Once again Lars turns from the door. "I've seen some wild sex at these
parties, too. Hope you don't mind."
"Now that's really not a problem," says Sam. "After all I've been
alone for six months! I'll definitely be there. By the way, what
should I bring?"
Lars stops in the door again and says, "Bring whatever you want, don't
matter, just gonna
be the two of us".