Day 9 (Tuesday 7 Jul) of our caravan was our transit day from Whitehorse YT over to Haines AK…about 250 miles total but about 150 of those were south. We went west in YT until we got to Haines Junction…named for it being the junction of the Haines Highway and the AlCan. Over to Haines Junction the road got a bit bumpy…lots of frost heaves and construction areas and the scenery was just so so. However…once we turned south the 150 miles through YT, a bit of very northwest BC, and AK the scenery was the most spectacular we’ve seen so far. Too bad it wasn’t a bright sunny day…it was fantastic even in mostly cloudy conditions but would have been even better under clear.
On the way over we got an alarm on one of our rig ABS brake sensors…it said it was disconnected. Once we arrived in Haines and got set up in Site 17 at the Haines Hitch-up RV Park Neil put on his coveralls and jumped underneath with Bill. Cleaned the contacts in the sensor cable connector and popped it back together…it says it’s fixed now but we’ll see later on I guess.
Tonight Neil is making shish-kebabs on the grill for dinner…Bill and Linda are coming over in a bit. Tomorrow (day 10) is a free day in Haines and Connie will be picking out some Fun Stuff™ for us to do.Thursday (day 11) we take the ferry down to Juneau for whale watching, glacier watching I think, and orca watching maybe…followed by some time spent in Juneau for the afternoon then we get back on the ferry to come home…so Thursday will be a long day.
OK, on to the pictures.
First a few catchup ones…these are actually from day 8 but if I go back and edit that post anybody that’s already read it won’t see the new photos.
Yesterday we wandered around Whitehorse a little more and got a few nice shots for ya’.
We kept hearing and seeing float planes overhead at Pioneer RV…so we looked around and just down the road from Miles Canyon where we visited the other day look what we found.
A plane at a privately owned dock.
The float plane airport.
The runway at the base.
And the runway decorations.
Afterward we went out to eat with Bill and Linda at the Klondike Restaurant downtown…had some great food and Yukon Red Ale on draft. On the way home we spotted an eagle flying and then landing in a nest right near the road…so we stopped by and got a few photos. There was at least 1 eaglet and both mom and dad brought home a seagull for the family to feast on.
The other adult flew off with it’s catch and the eaglet was down in the nest…so you’ll have to settle for shots of (I think) the female ripping the gull apart.
On to today’s photos. First stop was the Canyon Bridge overlook where we got some shots of one of the few original bridges from the pioneer road that became the AlCan. It’s still in sort of serviceable condition at least for walking across at your own risk.
Some wildflowers near the bridge.
We spotted this little guy alongside the road and Neil got a few shots…he was eating flowers like they were on sale.
Kluane Lake and the Kluane Mountains behind it.
This pretty sheer and vertical rock wall was just a couple hundred yards from the road and probably 2,000 feet higher than the road elevation.
Pano shot of the Kluane Mountains.
More Kluane Mountains
A shot of the Saksaia Glacier that we spotted once we came across the border back into the US. Three photos so as to give you both a view of how it looks from the roadside and then zooming in for a closer look.
Overall…day 9 was the best so far…still not too much wildlife but the scenery today was outstanding. Once we turned south at Haines Junction you could literally see for miles in pretty much any direction and all you could see was mountains, rivers, and valleys…very little sign of civilization and very few cars. They did take our eggs away on reentry into the US though…they’re worried about bird flu so any eggs from Ontario get confiscated:-(. We’ll have to buy some more tomorrow and we’ll hard boil whatever is left before leaving Friday as they don’t care about cooked eggs.
Day 10 (Wed 8 July) was devoted to stuff around Haines and errands. After breakfast and coffee we set off for the half mile walk down to town from the campground and then did the walking tour around historic Fort Seward…just don’t ask me what’s historic about it other than being old. It’s your basic frontier army post…not any sort of fort like down in the old west where they had to defend against Indian attacks but more of a non-enclosed base type arrangement. We got some good photos of both the port area and the Fort during our walk about.
Haines sits at the north end of the Chilkoot Inlet…more of a fjord really…about 80 miles upstream from the Pacific Ocean. Just past Haines heading inland the Inlet splits and the right fork goes up to Skagway while the left fork becomes the Lutak Inlet for 7 or 8 miles with a short stream up to Chilkoot Lake. Haines is about 5 miles as the crow files due east to the BC border but it’s about 40 miles northwest to the road border crossing…that’s the only way in or out of here by land. There’s also a road to Skagway AK which is about 10 miles north as the crow files but there are no roads between Skagway and Haines due to the mountains in between…although there is a ferry but I don’t know if it’s a people only ferry or if cars and/or RVs can travel on it.
A shot from the campground itself…pretty nice back yard, eh?
A gold mining drill. Used back in the day to figure out where to dig the pit mine for gold…worked by being picked up and dropped repeatedly to fill a hollow pipe with a core sample…analysis of the core told you that the gold bearing rock was 30 feet down or whatever and estimate how many ounces of gold you would get per cubic yard of dirt.. Once that was known you could decide whether it was worth digging down to get it out. No longer used for active mining.
Pano shot of the boat harbor, inlet, and cruise ship dock at the water’s edge.
A visiting cruise ship at the one and only parking place…fairly small as cruise ships go, maybe 500 feet long tops and 600 or 700 passengers plus crew. Anything bigger would find it hard to get into the ports along the Alaska/Vancouver Inside Passage as Haines is a fairly large port for these parts.
Boat harbor and inlet closeup shot.
A carved totem near the waterfront.
Several shots of the fort buildings…officers quarters, trading post, and fire brigade.
A view across the Lutak Inlet looking eastward.
Howard Payne Memorial Dead Tree Photo for the month.
Eagle on the gravel flats.
Same eagle after it moved over to a treetop.
Some sort of strange waterfowl preening itself on rock right at the southern end of Chilkoot Lake where it proceeds southward through a short section of river rapids to join Lutak Inlet and then Chilkoot Inlet. After some research with Peterson’s we decided it was either a female common Merganser or a male Northern Pintail but the shots weren’t clear enough to make a definitive determination and the darn birds never turned around where we could get a decent look.
Pine cone shot Connie got…we kinda like these.
Two shots of a waterfall across Chilkoot Lake, one to show perspective and a closeup of the falls itself…probably 400 or 500 feet total waterfall height but cascading over in a dozen small drops.
Chilkoot Lake Pano…the waterfall above is on the right side mountain.
Pano looking south from the upper end of Lutak Inlet. The narrow opening at center left is where it joins to Chilkoot Inlet which proceeds to the right behind the mountain at the Lutak Inlet entrance. Haines is about 6 or 8 miles downstream from this location. Obviously low tide due to the large exposed gravel flats section…based on them the tidal range here is probably 10-15 feet by Neil’s guesstimate…this checks pretty closely with the 13 feet he got when he looked up aide table. The water is about 200 yards from where we were standing at low tide (and it looked like we were about at low tide when we took this shot)…at high tide all of the brown grassy areas are under water but the higher green spots are above water plants of some sort…more like lichens or small shrubbery type plants and not grass except in the very near foreground.
With that our photo day was done. After a quick stop by the library to see if we could find some fast Internet…note to self, the Internet at libraries here in the far north is lousy…both here at Haines and previously at Whitehorse it was almost the slowest we’ve ever seen…anyways we stopped by and got a few groceries. However, the prices reduced us from buying our list to just buying the things we are out of, hopefully when we get to Fairbanks on Monday the prices will be a little more reasonable. Prices in Alaska are expensive…but the ones here in Haines were ridiculous. We paid 3.98 US a gallon for fuel compared to 2.79 we paid in ND on the way up a month back and 3.60something equivalent on our Canadian stops. I guess that Haines is at the far end of nowhere (the closest place on the road is Haines Junction and that’s 150+ miles back north from here) and with the shipping costs it just is expensive.