Six hours sailing on the Alaskan Marine Highway ferry from the busy port of Ketchikan brings us to Wrangell. A laid back little town of just over 2,000, where the locals stop whenever you go to cross the road. Not because it is law but because “you should never be in that much of a hurry”. And when it is the end of school term the local fire brigade take the kids for a ride around town in the fire engine. And I mean ALL the kids, because we watched and listened to that fire engine do the rounds.
Wrangell has several claims to fame (apart from really spoiling their kids) they are one of the oldest towns in Alaska and have been ruled by four nations – Tlingit, Russia, England and America. On one of the beaches are primitive rock carvings, believed to be at least 1,000 years old. The purpose of these carvings is unknown but along with lofty suggestions of Territorial Markers, Major Events, Beacons for Salmon they also suggest they could just be ancient doodlings, the later is my preferred answer!
Outdoor pursuits are big here, again for those with $$$ there are some fabulous boat trips on offer, for the rest of us there are some great hiking trails. Behind town is the most assessable of these, the Mount Dewey Trail which affords the weary stair climber a brilliant vista over the city. About 6 kilometres out of town is the Rainbow Trail which climbs up (again!) beside a waterfall. We hear from the girl in the bottle shop that a bear was sighted there the other day so our B&B owner sends us up with a bear spray, just incase. The sight of the can was obviously a deterrent for we saw no bears!
The day our ferry sails from Wrangell in the early morning a cruise boat is due at lunchtime. What perfect timing we Arkles have!