Sunday, June 17, 2012

Welcome to Alaska

We had debated on whether to go up the Klondike Hwy to  Dawson City on the way to Tok and Fairbanks. Another alternative was to continue on the Alaska Hwy and stop in Destruction Bay and onto Tok. With all the rain, we thought the Alaskan Hwy would be better. Talking to other people, it sounded like the Dawson City route would be okay but we decided to stick to the other route. Or so we thought as we left.

As we neared Haines Junction where you head up north to Destruction Bay, you also have a choice to go south to Haines, Alaska. Joe said "I have a thought, why don't we go see Haines as we probably won't otherwise if we head up to Dawson City at the last part of our trip out of Alaska." I said why not. The scenery along the Haines Hwy route is incredible. You have the St Elias Mountains and the Kluane National Park on the west side. Snow everywhere including on the ground on the side of the road in some areas as you climb the Chilkat Pass and rivers and lakes dot the landscape.

                We started in the Yukon, then BC and finally reached the border to Alaska. As it is Sunday, and there was also a bike race, the line up coming from Haines was long  but there was no line heading towards Haines and so after a quick 20 questions from the US border guard, we were on our way. We are in Alaska, baby!!

      Our phones go back an hour to Alaska time. More beautiful views as the 146 mile Haines Highway was awarded National Scenic Byway Status several years ago.

Haines, Alaska is located on Portage Cove, Chilkoot Inlet, on the upper arm of the Lynn Canal and is the northern end of where you can take the Alaska Marine Hwy by ferry to Juneau and on south to Vancouver and places in between. Our campground for a few days is Oceanside RV Park, which is right on the Chilkoot Inlet of the Canal. I actually called on the road to make reservations and the owner asked if we wanted to participate in the crab potluck. They are boiling crabs and you can buy some and then everyone brings a side dish Sounded good to us.
The campground has 23 back in sites that are close together However the view out our front window is amazing.

Across the road in back of us

View in front of us

Harbor View from our site

Another view of the Lynn Canal in front of us

         Luckily we had the ingredients for 3 (actually 4 bean )salad  and put that together quickly. We are in walking distance from the town and so walked over to a liquor store to get some Kokanee(our favorite beer) and a bottle of wine. The potluck was great with lots of good food and we certainly ate a lot of crab. We each ate one and also bought a third ($6 each) to take home for dinner another night.   Also saw our first bald eagle.  The year round population of bald eagles is 350 but in the autumn months, it swells to close to 3,500 in the Chilkat Valley, which is the largest gathering of bald eagles in the world.

                                                                                 Love my new camera. You could barely see this eagle with the naked eye but pictures above are taken with the built in telephoto lens. I think we are going to like this spot. This is Alaska, you betcha.                                                                                                                                                                                              

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