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Well we have had a wonderful batch of weather the last week or so. We have had a mix of gorgeous sunny days with 25 – 30 degree weather then a day or two of slushy snow. The photo shows you a nice sunny morning. This was taken about 8:30 am, the sun is not totally over the mountains but boy is it nice to see sun!

Life in Ketchikan (from here abbreviated as KTN) has been the lazy life of winter. Just what you might think with kids sledding, and bundling up against the cold. Yesterday I tried to fly a kite on the downtown docks, but there was only a slight breeze so it was not very successful. Which is unusual, as on the water it seems there is always some sort of wind. But I had fun and looked silly trying to do it! And it was a good excuse to get outside. I also noticed that there was a lot of traffic of all sorts yesterday – people out taking drives, riding bikes, walking dogs and soaking in the sun. Since we live in a rainforest, when the sun comes out people try to get outside and soak in the sunshine vitamins. My husband & I drove the 12 or so miles to the south end of the road. With water to our right and thick forest to our left it was beautiful. I kept a sharp eye out for marine mammals, but ended up seeing our wildlife right on the road. We followed two large Sitka black tailed deer for about 200 yards along the road as they tried to find a break in the snow plow created berm on the side of the road to climb back in the woods. They were beautiful!! We did stop at a road side waterfall, and climbed over the berm to stand at the pool at the bottom of the fall. The air was chilly and the spray even chiller, but it was a nice little spot. We parked at the power station at the end of the road and walked a short distance to the trail head for the mountain hiking trail that starts there. Just a few steps from the car the thick foliage blocked out the sound of the power plant and we could soak in the silence of the ancient forest. It was awesome.

What I refer to as the “winter social season” has begun. Since we are a tourism town a lot of “annual meetings”, special events and banquets for the local organizations happen during January through March. Just as a sampler here are some things until the end of the month – and the general public is invited. The KTN Chamber of Commerce had their annual banquet this past weekend. They announced the civic awards such as Volunteer of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Business of the Year. This year’s speaker was Alaska’s senior senator Ted Stevens.

Later this week the Old Bar Harbor Caledonia Society will celebrate the 9th Annual Robert Burns Night, which includes a Scottish dinner, music & dancing. Bagpipes welcome!

And this weekend KTN’s resident theatre company, First City Players presents annual Jazz & Cabaret Festival. The festival has two week classes for local folks with training in vocal style and instrumental ensembles instructed by world class musicians who travel here to teach. Then you watch your friends & neighbors perform what they have learned.

Also, next week is KTN’s Arts Council’s annual fundraiser, the 22nd Wearable Art Show. What is wearable art? Well, it is hard to describe, but it is a blending of art, craft, music and lighting. People come from around Alaska and the Pacific Northwest to show off individually designed pieces of hand-made clothing that can be made from anything – and I mean anything – last year two high school guys made “Road Warrior” style outfits from cast off car parts. And there is a children's show during one afternoon where kids get to strut down the runway wearing that they themselves have created. For more info on wearable art do an internet search and enjoy the creativity of the genre!

All winter long there are weekly open mike nights for bluegrass and jazz singers & musicians, weekly book & poetry readings, art gallery openings, garden club meetings, plus community concert band & choir practices. There are high school basketball games, adult basketball leagues, and racket ball games. Plus, quilting, sewing, beading & pottery classes – as well as martial arts, aqua aerobics, and belly dancing! Phew! That is just a sample!! There is even more stuff I don’t have time to list!! We do not lack for stuff to do here – throw in hiking, snow shoeing, hunting and yes, some hardy souls even take their boats out for fishing (brrr!!). When visitors ask what we could possibly do here in the winter, I tell them that is when we all get to go out and have fun!! Our local non-profit organizations do a great job of keeping us busy.

Oh - and I forgot one great winter pasttime. One tour operator friend of mine tells visitors that our favorite winter pasttime is "arguing". In the winter we have time to argue over that we think the local government should be doing or should not be doing; we argue over how well the road crews are doing with snow removal; we argue over the decisions made by the school board members; we argue over if the city council should change the traffic patterns in the downtown area; we take the time to read the papers and voice our opinions. I cannot tell you how many politically motivated conversations I have had in the aisles at the grocery store or at Walmart. And how many times I have quickly turned a corner in a store so I would not be trapped in another one of those conversations with a person coming down the aisle! This town is big enough that you cannot know everyone, but small enough that you always see someone you know when you are out and about in town.

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