While we enjoyed the last few days in Haines it was a disappointment not to see any brown bears. No bear cubs. No bears fishing. No bears eating fish. Bear scat – yes, but NO BEARS! However, all was not lost. We did enjoy seeing the bald eagles. There were lots of them.
While we didn’t see any bears, we did get to explore the area. Haines is situated in the fjords of south eastern Alaska. Haines also gets lots of rain and snow ensuring plenty of precipitation all year long. This means the local climate is a temperate rainforest. Due to the high mountains all around the temperate rainforest is more like a micro-climate right along the coast quickly giving way to subarctic and arctic climates within just a few miles of the water.
Within the temperate rainforest area the state has a number of parks and trails they administer. We took the opportunity to hike out the Battery Point trail.
We also took time to drive out to the local cannery. The cannery itself is situated a bit precariously on a point with the forest threatening to over grow the cannery grounds at any time. We bought some candied salmon, a fresh salmon filet, and some halibut.
The south western most point accessible by road is Chilkat State Park. We drove out to the park, which is about 11 miles from Haines, to see what there was to see. You know, to see what was around the next corner! Again – the scenery was amazing.
We also got to see the Alaska Marine Ferry, Columbia, coming in to dock at the ferry dock just to the west of Haines.
A highlight of the area for the girls is the Alaska Bald Eagle Foundation. This is a non-profit educational facility dedicated to educating the public about raptors in general with a focus on the American Bald Eagle. We took advantage of their Aviary tour and Eagle feeding presentations.
On Wednesday (8/17) we decided to continue on our journey heading north out of Haines backtracking along the route we took on Sunday. The border crossing into Canada went off without a hitch (the border is just 44 miles inland from Haines) and we were soon up and over the mountain pass heading towards Haines Junction, about 150 miles north. Along the way we took some time to hike up to a rock glacier. This particular glacier is no longer active allowing for some great hiking up the face and top of the glacier.
We had a fantastic day for traveling. It was finally sunny! (Of course, we didn’t break out into the sun until after we had crested the mountain pass north of Haines.) The road from Haines to Haines Junction is also one of the best roads we’ve encountered in this part of the country. It made for some relaxing driving where the miles just effortlessly rolled by.
We also got to see a …. wait for it …. a …. Bear! It was black bear, not a brown bear, but we did get to see a bear as we drove along today. That was not the best part though. Today we saw a lone black wolf along the side of the highway. We weren’t able to get a picture, but he was fantastic looking! We also saw a spindly looking red fox just hanging out on the shoulder of the road. It was completely unconcerned about us as we slowly passed him by. I really wish we had been able to get a picture of the wolf. I have no idea what it was doing down in the ditch all by itself. Maybe its pack mates were somewhere off in the bushes hidden from us?
Thursday we plan to do a few things in Whitehorse. Tops on the list are refilling the diesel tank, getting laundry done, and picking up some groceries. We would also like to stop in and tour the Copperbelt Railway & Mining Museum.
From Whitehorse we will continue east until we get to the Cassiar Highway. The Cassiar Highway begins where it intersects the Alaska Highway just to the west of Watson Lake.
- 8/17, Wed: 201 (Just west of Whitehorse)