Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Haines to Juneau

In Haines we stayed at a small RV park in town with good walking access to town. Haines is a small town that only "hosts" one cruise ship per week. The local enconmy depends on tourism and local fishing industry in general. We didn't realize what that meant until we got to Juneau...more on that later. 

Once we got a campsite, we toured around a bit and ended up driving out to the mouth of the Chilkat River hoping to see some wildlife in the form of bears etc... Unfortunatey it was not to be on this night, but we did catch site of Byron's "sister", another Vanagon of similar vintage to ours, white, and clearly a GoWesty vehicle. Given that she was parked in someone's driveway, a photo seemed a bit weird. We ended up seeing her again in town just as we were leaving for the ferry. 

Haines is basically the bald eagle capital of Alaska. About 400 are resident, and about 4,000 come there each fall during a salmon run. They were everywhere! Also, the Bald Eagle Foundation has a facility in Haines for rehab, education, and exhibition. We visited there on the day after arrival, thoroughly toured downtown, visited the town museum, and the Hammer Museuem, with a collection of over 1,200 different hammers. Corny, but cool at the same time. After some relaxing, we went for a hike on the Battery Point trail and were amazed at the trek through the rain forest and the flora we saw there on the way to a gravelly beach where Meghan enjoyed some climbing and scrambling time, and we saw some great views. For dinner we ate at Fireweed and had some excellent local brew and pizza!

Battery Point rainforest

Amazingly large trees. Felt like California redwoods.


Note Meghan climbing in the background.

She made it!

Bald eagle (yes...another one)

On ferry day, we caught up on laundry, hung out in town, drove out to Chilkat lake, and eventually loaded up for the ferry ride to Juneau. The ferry ride was short enough that they did not do a "car deck call" allowing us to visit Willow, but again she did fine despite having quite a late dinner that night. Upon arrival in Juneau, we discovered that an event at the Mendenhall Glacier had drained a small lake that the glacier normally holds back, causing Mendenhall lake to flood and the campground was closed where we'd planned to stay. Despite that, a steady rain was falling. We tried to bool a pet friendly hotel for that night, but all were booked solid. Off to the RV park we go again, and we were somewhat lucky to get in there as it was filling quickly with evacuees from the state campground. 

Mendenhall glacier near Juneau

Mendenhall lake

Falls near the glacier

From Juneau we caught an overnight ferry to Wrangell. Some rain, but overall great scenery on the Inside Passage during the journey. 

Nice view from Petersburg (inside passage)

The Narrows near Wrangell

We got some groceries and the lay of the land in town, then headed out to find camp...and really lucked out that we were willing to endure the road to get there. 

Killer campsite...steep gravel road with narrow stretches.  100% worth it...see following pix. 

The view


Petroglyph Beach, Wrangell


More still 

Super low tide let us explore tide pools. 

Marker rock usually underwater!

Sea cucumber

Starfish seeking refuge during low tide

Shakes island with totems and "gremlins"

Here's to you Pat!

You have a pretty lake!

Salads for dinner with wild berries we picked

Sunset on last day on Wrangell Island

Now, on to Prince Rupert BC and points south.  Just about out of Alaska. :(

No data plan until back in USA. We'll try to grab some WiFi once in awhile in BC

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