Alaska – Ketchikan’s Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

Holland America Lines offers several excursions for each port where we stop.  We chose a hike in the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary.

Many trees were covered with Old Man’s Beard Lichen.  It will eventually kill the tree, but this is part of the natural process in the rain forest.

Old Man's Beard Lichen
Old Man’s Beard Lichen

The top soil is very shallow, so roots cannot go very deep.  Instead, they spread out horizontally and tangle with nearby roots.  Thus, surrounding trees help support other trees.  New plants get their start in the decaying trees and stumps left after a tree dies because the ground is so inhospitable to new plants.  Eventually, the young trees are strong enough to make their way in the ground.

Dead Log Full of Life
Dead Log Full of Life

Decaying Stump Cover with New Growth

Decaying Stump Cover with New Growth

The burl on this dead cedar tree is probably worth $10,000 to a woodworker, but the tree is protected and the fine for cutting any tree is $30,000.

Huge Burl on Protected Tree
Huge Burl on Protected Tree

There were a wide variety of mushrooms in the forest.

Two of Many Muchrooms
Two of Many Mushrooms

Some of the trees have a tangle of roots that are open.  These make a great place for bears to hibernate in the winter.

Root Tangle
Root Tangle

Or maybe even people.

Root Tangle with Room for People
Root Tangle with Room for People

This is another lichen, the matchstick lichen, or the devil’s matchstick.  Lichens were composed of two separate organisms, algae and fungus, working togethger in a symbiotic relationship.

Match Stick Lichen
Match Stick Lichen

Yes, there are bears in the area.  Looks like this one had some berries for lunch.

Bear Scat on the Trail
Bear Scat on the Trail

 

Rose
Rose

As we left the rain forest, we entered an estuary where the salmon were trying to spawn.

Salmon in Stream
Salmon in Stream

And, where there are salmon, there are bears.

Black Bear Looking for Lunch
Black Bear Looking for Lunch

This was a small black bear ready for some lunch.

Black Bear Fishing
Black Bear Fishing

It came up with a fish, but didn’t like that one and let it go.

Black Bear - Caught One
Black Bear – Caught One

 

On the Prowl
On the Prowl

Another attempt.

Another Attempt
Another Attempt

This is a nice one.

Success
Success

 

I'll Keep This One
I’ll Keep This One

 

I think I’ll take this one back into the woods and have lunch.

Where there are salmon, there are also eagles.  This pair was in a tree across the estuary watching.

Pair of Bald Eagles
Pair of Bald Eagles

I know I promised you totem poles in this post, but it is getting a bit long.  The next one will be the totem poles, I promise

Mark

2 thoughts on “Alaska – Ketchikan’s Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.