After leaving Valdez, our next destination was Haines, Alaska.  To get there, you have to exit Alaska and drive through Canada to reach this Southeastern coastal town.  Mountain ranges prevent a more direct route.  So, we headed back north to the Alaska Highway and then around the two National Parks that encompass these mountain ranges (Wrangell- St. Elias National Park in Alaska and the Kluane National Park in Canada).  On Saturday (7/22) we started this multi-day journey by driving from Glennnallen to Tok.   The scenery was nice, but we must be spoiled, as we didn’t even stop to take any photos.  We drove straight through to Tok and enjoyed a pizza at Fast Eddy’s.   We stayed over at Tok RV Village  once again.  We drove east from Tok on Sunday (7/23) into Canada and south to the Beaver Creek area, through the worst section of the Alaska Highway.  There were lots of boreal forests, construction, potholes and frost heaves.  We stayed overnight once again at the Discovery Yukon Lodge & Campground.

Lots of driving for a few days as we left interior Alaska and headed through the Yukon toward Haines.
Once we entered Canada, the skies got hazy due to nearby wildfires.

On Monday (7/24), we drove the rest of the Alaska Highway’s worst section down through Destruction Bay, Yukon. We ended up stopping for the night just south of Haines Junction, at Kathleen Lake Campground.  This location is within Canada’s beautiful Kluane National Park, and was recommended to us by Dave & Mindy.  It’s a great campground!

Kathleen Lake Campground had spacious, wooded sites.
Once we set up camp, Lucy and I went for a hike down to the lake through a beautiful forest.
Lucy loved playing in the crystal clear water of Kathleen Lake, while Steve enjoyed the beautiful views.

Tuesday (7/25), we drove further south into Southeast Alaska.  We’ve been on so many beautiful drives during this vacation that we expected to drive straight through to Haines without making any stops.  We were wrong.  This is another drive that absolutely should not be missed.  There were intermittent showers and lots of wildfire haze, but the drive was still impressive.  The fireweed and other wildflowers were at peak blossom.  The road wanders through wide open valleys, past countless mountain lakes and through different types of forests.  This section of road has it all.  We even saw a mother grizzly bear with her cub (unfortunately they dove into the brush before we could get any photos).

Even on a cloudy day, we enjoyed the vast wilderness on the drive to Haines.
There were many intense patches of purple fireweed blossoming along the road.

As we neared Haines, the road followed the river to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, where more than 3,500 eagles gather every fall.  We stopped for a bit, but only saw one lone eagle.  We drove on to Haines and found our overnight spot at the Oceanside RV Park.  This place is just a small, narrowly marked asphalt parking lot with full RV hookups.  But, the park is brand new and immaculate.  The incredible views and the great location makes this a great spot to stay, despite the closeness of your neighbors.  There was also a historic restaurant next door (The Lighthouse) that served very good halibut and chips.  

You can't help but get to know your neighbors in this crowded RV Park, but the view makes this a great spot.
The picturesque Haines Harbor was close to our RV Park.

Since we were ahead of schedule, we used Wednesday (7/26) to catch up on laundry and grocery shopping, while also taking time to enjoy the area scenery.  We visited the nearby American Bald Eagle Foundation, which has a raptor center with eagles, hawks, owls and other birds that are being rehabilitated.  They have a great museum, too. Our favorite part was the large taxidermy room with examples of Alaskan wildlife.  This gave us new silly photo opportunities!  In the evening, Lucy got to played in the water and we sat in our lawn chairs as the Skagway cruise ships pass by. 

Yep. Another moose photo with Steve. Laurie had to take the photo quickly so they didn't kick us out.
I can think of a few great captions, but since this is a family friendly blog I will refrain.

The clouds disappeared on Thursday (7/27), giving us full sunshine with deep blue skies.  The Southeast Alaska State Fair happened to be in town, so we went people-watching as local Alaskans soaked up the summer sun. We sampled  the excellent food trucks for lunch (yes…Laurie got a corn dog!).  After enjoying some live music, we left the fair and headed to the Haines Sheldon Museum for a good dose of local history.  

The Southeast Alaska State Fair was interesting. This was the ride area, in its entirety.
The fair's animal barn consisted of less than a dozen rabbits and a few chickens. Certainly different from the fairs we've attended in the midwest.

In the late afternoon, we drove north of town to the Chilkoot Lake State Recreation Site.  We were told that bears might be fishing for salmon in the river.  We didn’t see any bears, but enjoyed the fantastic roadside views along the short drive to the park.  Lucy enjoyed wading into yet another glacier-fed mountain lake.  Afterwards, we got some excellent Halibut Fish and Chips for a carry-out dinner and enjoyed a beautiful, relaxing evening at our RV site.

Endless photo opportunities exist along the Chilkoot Inlet with snow capped mountains behind blossoming fireweed.
We didn't find any bears, but Lucy got to go swimming again.
The cloudless evening sky provided an outstanding view of the Haines Harbor and Portage Cove.

The more time we spent in Haines, the more we fell in love with the area. However, we had reservations for the ferry from Haines to Skagway, so we left for our next adventure on Friday (7/28).   Stay tuned for our next post!

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3 thoughts on “Haines”

  1. What is the breakdown of camper by types you see …. I.e…. Rvs, truck pulling trailers, truck piggyback campers, car w tents.

    1. Thanks for asking. We see all types of campers. The campground usually determines the predominant type. If you stay at a KOA or other large RV park, you will see mainly huge Class A buses and large 5th wheel campers with a tow vehicle. Tonight we are in a Yukon Provincial Park, and I think our RV is the largest one – there are mainly tents, tear drop trailers and truck campers. Usually, the more rustic the campground, the more rustic the camper types. Overall, I think we’ve seen the most truck campers and large Class A buses.

  2. Of course you had to attend a fair. That view of Lucy in Kathleen Lake is great! Too bad you didn’t see more eagles though.

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