The last ferry ride of this leg of our journey takes us to Haines, AK. It’s beautiful cruising along the inside passage, we see humpback whales spouting off the bow of the Columbia, a perfect day for a cruise.
After setting up we stroll over to the Lighthouse Restaurant. We arrive just in time as they are expecting a busload of French tourists any minute. We get our order of Halibut Fish and Chips and a Captain’s Platter of: shrimp, halibut, wings and fried mozzarella before the crowd arrives. Although they are slammed, the service is friendly and the food perfectly prepared and delicious. Portions are large and we again have leftovers for some tasty fish tacos the next day.
That night there is a huge storm. Thunder shaking and lightning flashing it’s pretty exciting, but we don’t know how exciting until the next day, when everyone in town is enthusiastically talking about the weather. Seems lightening in Haines is rare, so rare that the locals have never seen lightening like this. One man told us that his 18-year old daughter had never seen lightening at all, until last night. Had we know, we might have gone out and shot some photos, but standing outside near a line of metal RVs in a thunder storm just didn’t seem like a good idea.
We drive out to Chikoot Lake and hike a bit about the lake. Mosquitos are rampant but the ThermaCELLs work perfectly! There is a salmon weir across the river and we watch the poor ranger wading in the water trying to count the few early arriving salmon in the area.
|Haines Highway in Fog|
After three days we head out on the Haines Highway. We have read and heard that this is one of the most scenic highways in Alaska. Unfortunately the road is shrouded in fog and we’ll just have to take their word on this. Not a lot of wild life either, just a couple of picas and a trumpeter swans.
Crossing the Canadian border is a breeze for us. We hand over all
|Welcome to Canada, eh...|
We arrive at the Kluane RV Kampground in Haines Junction for a one-night stop. Parking is on dirt; they have full hookups, OK Wi-Fi, but no trash receptacles so we have to pack out our trash (weird.)
The list of attractions in Haines Junction is very short. There’s the village monument at the junction of the Haines and Alaska Highways is a 24-foot high sculpture with area wildlife depicted in close to life-size detail on a mountain. It’s nick named “The Muffin” and belongs in the category of quirky roadside attractions that are just quirky. You can’t miss this one but there is another attraction that should be on the NOT TO MISS LIST! The Da Ku “Our House” Culture Center features Champagne and Aishihik First Nations cultural exhibits and the Kluane National Park Reserve Visitor Center. This is one of the finest visitor centers we have ever visited it’s World Class! Tons of hi-tech interactive interpretive displays keep us busy and stimulated until the center closes. The park is an empire of mountains and ice. Here in a vast international preserve, are most of the tallest peaks in North America and the largest ice fields outside the polar caps. Over half the land mass is permanently draped in snow and ice – the remainder fosters forests and tundra and stable populations of eagles, grizzlies and other species often at risk elsewhere. We’d like to stay and explore but Alaska is our goal this summer, so we will make it a point to return and visit this park in the future.
|Along the ALCAN|
|World's largest Gold Pan|
|Mama & Baby Moose|
(BTW Tok is pronounced “Toke” the “e” is missing)
Everyone driving into Alaska has to pass through Tok. For such an important crossroads we note that in peak season, the multiple RV parks are pretty empty and vacancy signs abound on the hotels. There are multiple gas stations, one well-stocked grocery store and a few small businesses catering to locals and tourists. They have a fancy visitor center that is a clearing-house for brochures about anything you can do in the state. Talking with some of the locals they describe the town as a boom and bust town they also note that this year they are seeing more large RV’s so they hope that the next boom is on the way. Like the rest of Alaska they are having a heat wave and for us the smoky air is a déjà vu from last summer.
In Tok we stay two nights at the Tok RV Village. The spaces are all full service pull-through and they give us one free hour of Wi-Fi per day. Since everything is within walking distance we leave Dave and Dimples hitched.
|The Alaska Burger|