Paul & Jan's Fulltime Adventure travel blog

Some of the beautiful mountains on the way to Haines

Camping at Haines Hitch-up RV Park

Haines, a quaint little town nestled in the mountains

Fish Wheel in the Chilkat River

Crossing the Summit on the way to Haines

We pulled out of Whitehorse on a beautiful Monday morning. The plan was to drive to Haines Junction, then head south on the Haines Highway to Haines, Alaska. The drive to the Junction was rather un-eventful. Even though the weather was nice, we didn't see any wildlife. The road was pretty good with only a few gravel patches. So far, so good. We have heard that there is major construction between Haines Junction and Tok, but we will deal with that when the time comes.

The scenery along the Haines Highway is absolutely stunning! There are mountains everywhere, the Dawson range to the East and the St Elias Mountains to the West. As we got closer to Haines, there were the Chilkoot's to the East and the Chilkat's to the West. They are not the highest mountains, but they are Oh so beautiful.

The US Border crossing went OK and we were in Alaska, finally! The highway followed the Chilkat River, that was flowing pretty full. We passed through the Bald Eagle Preserve, but didn't see any birds. We'll come back in a day or so, as it's only about 20 miles from Haines. We passed a couple of fish wheels in the river right next to the highway. We pulled over and watched for a few minutes, but didn't see anything come through them. They are quite the interesting contraption.

The Haines Hitch-up RV Park is located on the North side of Haines, so we pulled in and will make this our home for the next few days. We are thinking of taking tours of Skagway and Juneau from here, so will let you know more about that later.

Haines is the heart of the Chilkat Valley, the historic capital of Tlingit (pronounced Kling-it) Indian culture and art and the site of a frontier Gold Rush. Here, the Inside Passage meets the northern mainland and two great landscapes converge. The Southeast rainforest gives way to Interior tundra, creating in one place an uncommon mix of saltwater fjords and dry, alpine meadows, sunshine and sea life, splashing whales and roaming wolves.

The valley's main industries are commercial fishing, some logging and tourism. A few cruise ships stop in Haines, but most pass on by heading to Skagway which is some fifteen miles on up the Lynn Canal. In my opinion, this makes Haines a much more appealing destination. A rich community of artists calls the valley home, taking inspiration from spectacular vistas and wildlife all around.

We went to the visitors' center to get a little information about the area. Then we walked around the town and stopped in some of the shops.

We took a short drive up the bay toward Chilkoot Lake. At the end of the road, a short stream connects the lake to the bay. There were a few fishermen trying their luck, but we didn't see any action. In a small meadow next to the stream, we spotted a mid-sized brown bear grazing around. He/she started heading toward the fishermen and when they both spotted each other, they headed in opposite directions. It was quite funny to us, but I'm sure the fishermen felt differently!

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, I wonder what Haines has planned for us. Come on along and we will find out..........

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