Herb & Ginger's RV Travel Adventures travel blog

Full of curiosity

Exploring back country

Local marine repair facility

Great little museum

Chief Shakes Clan House

Original totems

Petroglyphs

Tons of starfish

And sea urchins

Petroglyph Beach

Yup - a flusher in a port-a-john!!! First time we have seen...

Shoemaker Harbor reconstruction

NICE FS cabin - nice view too!

Sunset from our campsite

Up, Up, Up - down, down, down

From top of Mt Dewey

And - from top of Rainbow Falls

Cedar burns great - if you can some that is dry


The 6 hour ferry trip was a little less scenic (maybe we are on overload already). We did see whales, eagles and scores of Dall’s porpoise danced around the boat. We arrived in Wrangell late Sunday with just enough daylight left to set up. We are in the City’s Shoemaker Bay CG. The sites are not what we expected based on descriptions that we had read. Oh well, this IS Alaska!! There are 15 electric sites. No water as stated but there is a dump station in the harbor next door. We can get water in town. Not all pedestals work. One or possibly two sites are long and level enough for a med size rig. Most are short, soft grass, very “lumpy” and difficult to get into. If you stay here you can use the pool and showers at the rec center in town. The only CG with hookups in town is Alaska Waters. They are not open yet (and the sites don’t look all that inviting). We are fine here. If we had sun we would be boondocking. If you are one of those who needs 50 amp and/or a full hookup – you might not be happy here.

Wrangell is quite the opposite of Ketchikan. Much smaller and though they do get a few smaller cruise ships they are not inundated. No diamond stores. No out of town owned stores, no tourist traps – just locals and a few locally owned, quality gift shops. There are two grocery stores, hospital, library, etc. and several hardware/marine supply stores. The people here are great. Marine repair seems to be the major business. As with other towns, the fishing and logging that once flourished is but a small part of life here now. There are tour boats and charter fishing services as we see elsewhere. The Stikine River, fastest free flowing navigable river in North America, and LeConte Glacier, one of the fastest flowing glaciers on earth and the southernmost glacier in the Northern Hemisphere that calves into the sea, are two major draws. We looked into a Stikine River tour but the lake they go into is still frozen. We opted out.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were typical Southeast weather: cloudy, misty, light drizzle with occasional light rain. We explored the Island to the south, checked out the Nemo NF campgrounds (boondocking and great for the smallest rigs – fantastic views) and wandered around some of the logging roads. We visited one of many FS cabins that people can rent – rustic and very nice. We continue to be amazed how fearless and curious the Sitka deer are. We had one walk toward us the other day. We spent time in town. Lunch in two different restaurants, patronized several stores and spent a couple hours or more in the excellent visitor center/museum. We visited Petroglyph Beach, the location of over 40 petroglyphs created thousands of years ago by unknown native residents and visible only at low tide.

The weather broke Thurs AM. We watched the pile driving crew in the harbor for a while then headed to town. We hiked to the top of Dewey Mtn – 468 steps plus lateral up but not a huge elevation gain. And nearly the whole trail was boardwalk and wooden steps! Great views of the town and harbors. We picked up a few items plus got a made to order sandwich from City Market. This is the place to go in town for a sandwich!! We drove back to Shoemaker Harbor to watch the crew and eat our lunch (we only ate ½ of the sandwich). We figured – well, we made the 468 up to Dewey, lets go for Rainbow Falls. The climb starts at about a ¼ mile in. Then it is 755 steps plus lateral through a hemlock and cedar forest to the top of the 100’ Falls. Again – almost all on boardwalks, bridges and wooden stairs! A lot of work to build all that!! They describe it as moderate/difficult hike but I’d call it moderate. It was well worth it. Back at our campsite, we took care of some chores, ate the other ½ of that huge sandwich and enjoyed our first campfire in some time – under sunny skies. Life is good!

Friday – another gorgeous AM. Had a lazy morning then picked up another one of those great sandwiches from City Market. Ended up meeting a local retired guy (Jerry), we talked for an hour. Learned a lot about Wrangell, the state, politics, the marine business, etc. We learned that the Columbia (ferry we came up on) blew an engine and will be out of service for a while. We headed out on an extensive tour of logging roads on the southern part of the island. Upon our return we found two pint jars of canned king salmon on our doorstep. Thank you Jerry! We later met Jerry’s wife, Brenda, and had a nice visit with her. We get on the ferry early tomorrow AM for Petersburg (Little Norway). We’ve enjoyed our time in Wrangell and would love to come back some day.

One thing that I haven’t mentioned about our little cabin on wheels. I am amazed that the pilot light on the water heater is enough to keep the water very hot. Of course it won’t recover fast unless it is turned to on but still surprising!



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