Some years ago, Don Mitchel of Ketchikan completed his goal of walking every road street, highway and byway of the Ketchikan road system.
Along the way, Mitchel saw a lot of Ketchikan that most Ketchikan residents — even longtime locals — don’t get around to seeing.
We’ve been thinking of that lately during the long days that ordinarily would be filled with visitors during a summer season in Ketchikan. They’re not here. But the many reasons that people want to visit are here. It’s a perfect time for Ketchikan residents to take a cue from Mr. Mitchel, get out of our regular routines and explore our community and its environs.
In some ways, that’s a theme being actively promoted throughout the state.
There’s Travel Alaska’s “Show up for Alaska ” promotion encouraging Alaskans to take advantage of trips within the state. Explore Fairbanks is actively inviting Alaskans to visit the Golden Heart region by road, rail or air.
“Explore local” is a big facet of the Fairbanks pitch, and explore is the right word.
So often we get stuck in familiar routines, following the same old routes and schedules with heads down, rarely looking up to take in what’s around us.
We’re missing out.
It’s worth taking the time to explore Ketchikan. We have an opportunity to rediscover some familiar favorites, and discover what’s new and exciting.
Take a look at something like the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau website for a refresher course on what attractions and services are available here. Make a bucket list of places to visit and things to do, and start working through the list. Find a map and, like Mr. Mitchel, start connecting the dots.
You might not cover as much territory as he did, but you’ll likely learn much about this place along the way. Meet some new people. Support the local economy. Reconnect with the natural world. See some things a little differently.
The summer of 2020 is a great time to start.