Saturday, June 29, 2013

AK to CA Trip: Haines (Day 5 again...with pics)

Haines, AK while waiting until the midnight ferry to Bellingham

Whew.  That was a long several days on the ferry.  We had only some spotty cell coverage while in a few ports, so the updates are a little late.  Here's more on Haines:

It was HOT!  Alaska seems to be having a heat wave that is following us as we head south. 

So our original plan to wander around Haines was cut very short by most of us being very unaccustomed to temperatures over 65 degrees.  We did manage to find the playground, which was very Alaskan-themed and looked similar to the one that we built last summer in Homer.

The kids also had some fun posing with some new friends they made around town.

When we got too hot, we piled back into the car (Aah, air conditioning!  Glad it still runs after two years with no use) and drove around.  We happened upon the m/v Columbia, our ride south, pulling into the pier.

Then we ventured out to Chilkoot Lake, at the end of the road.  There were lots of signs warning of bears, plus killer swarms of mosquitoes, so we observed from the car.

For lunch, we tried out the Chilkat Restaurant and Bakery.  It was sooo delicious.  We were surprised to find that they served Thai and American food, as well as breakfast all day.  The kids took full advantage of pancakes for lunch, and the adults cooled down with iced tea.

 We made our obligatory stop at the local brewery, the Haines Brewing Company.  Thank goodness for smart phones or we would have never found it hidden inside the fairgrounds, occupying a storefront in Dalton City.  That's where White Fang  was filmed.

After a dinner of milkshakes (yes, it was still hot, even though it had cooled down to about 75 degrees), we went back out to Chilkoot River hoping to see a bear.  We were in luck!  We spotted a brown bear fishing in the river and stopped to watch.  Upon talking with other bear fans, we learned that the bear's name is Hazel, and she fishes every evening.  The photos aren't the best, but you get the idea.

 Then it was back to the ferry terminal, where we still had nearly three hours to wait before we could board.  As soon as we pulled into our lane to park and wait, a huge thunderstorm rolled in.

We never get thunderstorms in Homer, so it was quite a treat. There were several waves of the storm, and in the middle of one downpour our friend Erin from AK on the GO appeared, running through the sheets of rain front of our car to bid us farewell.  She was in Haines after an awesome UnCruise adventure.  The final, longest wave of the storm set in right as it was time for us to board the ferry.  The kids, The Nana, and I all raced through the rain to get on the ship so we could check into our stateroom and get settled.  It was nearing 11pm.  Mike and Midas enjoyed the safety of the dry car as they drove it onboard.  The ship's crew witnessed lightning strike a tree on the hillside above the terminal on their way into port, and even the Haines Highway was closed down due to a rock slide.  Never a dull moment!

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