Originally published on my jeep blog July 22, 2011 – My Day 22 – Haines, Alaska
Subject: My Day 22 – Anchorage to Haines, Alaska
This is Mike our Expedition Leader and founder of JeepExpedtions.com
Today I meet Lisa on the road to Haines, Alaska. She tells me that she just bought a two bedroom home on an acre of land on the Big Island of Hawaii for $60,000 at auction. She can’t wait to spend time working on the land and start using it. According to her, the 90 year old former resident just up and keeled over one day in one of the rooms; he wasn’t found till much later, and in the island heat can you imagine the smell? The property wouldn’t sell, so it went to auction and thanks to Lisa’s bid she is now a proud owner of a home on an acre of land on the Big Island of Hawaii for just 60k.
Lisa told me that all of the furniture for the home is also coming from other Hawaii island foreclosed homes. Today Lisa is dressed in a bright neon green work jumpsuit, stylish arctic boots and a rather bulky helmet with a turtle sticker stuck on it. Her bug like dark sunglasses completed the complete road safety package.
The only pale wind burnt skin that showed was above her chin and below her eyebrows. Lisa held me at bay with her large STOP sign on a pole. She appears to be younger than she sounds – maybe from all that smoking to help keep her warm. She says she can’t wait to get the hell out of this freezing land.
This time my delay on this double wide broken gravel up and down dust road was for only fifteen minutes. Road crews are everywhere today fixing up what man built while nature keeps flexing the original trail that Dalton built. This morning I was the only vehicle on the road to Tok, Alaska so, it gave Lisa a chance to talk to someone other than the hungry Arctic mosquitoes. Never ever do I recall in all my years before having a long time on the highway, out in the middle of almost nowhere about a land that is an ocean away.
The scenery is mostly of glaciers as the road winds along this beautiful scenic highway. I stop to take pictures but, once again forgot that I am only wearing shorts. A short time later I’m scratching the quarter size seven bites that I can clearly see while driving and scratching. These are not your lower 48 size mosquitoes, these guys you can almost feel land on you.
Somehow I now feel like I’ve perfected my jeep driving; turn on the camera, ready, aim, shoot, swoop back on the lane and keep moving photo shot done. All my pictures are mostly taking as instinctive shooting.
I clear customs again – this time it’s back to the good old USA. A single customs agent steps out of his working home and into a booth between all hours except 11 PM and 7 AM. Another forty or so miles to go and I’m at Haines, Alaska and the ferry roadway of the inside passage.
Haines is also known as the valley of Eagles. Before the day is over I photograph all the eagles I want including one lone one on the beach. I quickly find great lodging at a B&B that Laura and her husband built around 1993-94.
The original garage housed some sort of power plant for Fort Seward. The fort was built by the USA due to a border land dispute with Canada. Send your Army soldiers to keep the peace and let them know you mean business – that was their marching orders.
This part of the old fort now has a bed and breakfast over it with one of the most scenic views of a busy but rather noisy seaport. Cost is $85.00 per night with a farmer’s breakfast at your chosen times between 7 AM and 9 AM. I choose 7:30 AM.
The Yukon was “larger than life” as they say on their travel brochures but I tend to like the sea or coastal towns the best. Driving through the Yukon is sort of like driving through Texas as it is big. Its larger than all the New England states put together and more than twice the size of Great Britain.
The Yukon portion of the Alaska highway that I just traveled wound its way through river valleys and dozens of streams and rivers that are what is known as the Mackenzie watershed. This is where it all drains to the Arctic Ocean and the Bering Sea.
This morning I stopped at the State Ferry building to pick up a boarding pass for the Jeep and I for the Sunday – Haines, Alaska to Juneau, Alaska portion of the trip. Right after getting my pass I drive towards Chilkoot Lake; parked at a beach access spot and cleaned out and organized my jeep.
I then drove just a few more miles down the road to find that I am finally at the end of the road. This is where I start hiking- hopefully only a few miles to get to a large waterfall that I could clearly see but, thanks to all the entanglements and overgrowth I couldn’t believe that it was impossible for me to reach and photograph this water falls. Slipping and sliding on mounds of kelp, hopping glacier deposited boulders, I fell twice, which was quite an achievement. Can you imagine, falling, breaking something and then getting eaten by a bear? What happened to Ralph – I don’t know, one day he just parked that jeep, entered the Alaska wilds; must be living off the lands now, hunting and fishing – not to worry – he’ll turn up one day.
While I was dirty and sweaty I felt that washing off the bug encrusted jeep at the local car wash was a good thing but first I needed to break a $50.00 bill. The Tesoro mini-mart lady and I had quite a discussion as to why their ATM’s only spit out $50.00’s. I said it was because of Haines high cost prices; like what I was now paying; $6.41 for a bottle of water and a gas anti-freeze additive.
She said no – that was normal; they all spit out $50.00’s must be a Haines thing. I’m at the Haines, Alaska library now – gotta go before they close!
See you on the road!
Posted by Trawlercat at 5:00 PM