Alaska: On Foot in Haines

View of Haines, Alaska from from dock.
Rita and Ron Hopper, Noordam in back

Wed. Sept 5thWhen we awoke we were in Haines, Alaska, a small town an hour and half south of Skagway by ferry and toll road. After coffee and breakfast we all debarked to check out the small town. Started out with me and Joe, JR and Jackie, and the Hoppers. Gloria was not with us as she liked to take a little more time with her morning prep. We wore layered clothes and each of us began shedding the outermost items as the day began to warm up to the mid 60s. We stopped at a Totem pole and read about the Alaska Indian Arts group that is responsible for all the poles displayed around Haines. Their mission is to help preserve the Tlingit culture for future generations.  We then headed up hill further into town to see the big older homes.  There was one very dilapidated structure that looked like it could have been a hotel, but when we got to the front where there was a long porch and signage we learned it was the location of the military base for Ft. William H. Seward, which was active from 1902 to 1945. We stopped at the museum that at one time was the base hospital. Ron and Rita had to head back to the boat, as Ron later told us he didn’t have on good walking shoes and walking uphill away from the harbor wasn’t going well for him. (He has Parkinson’s disease but does not let that stop him.)

Gloria Herms, Joe & Ginger Watkins
Sign posted at trail head city park in Haines, AK

We ran into Gloria and as she started walking toward us we saw there were two big turkeys following her. She joined us and left the turkeys behind. We continued our tour of the small town, just enjoying the sun and breeze and the architecture of the old houses. We ended up at a Totem Pole and a city park, with a trail entrance marked by a sign that got us laughing. On it was a photo of a snarling bear with one huge clawed paw held up as to halt anyone approaching, and it read “Warning!!! Recent Bear activity in this area. Hike with caution at your own risk.” Joe and JR did venture down the path a short ways and came back reporting no bear sightings. We three women, stayed behind resting at a picnic table.

We headed back down the hill toward the harbor and stopped at a restaurant called the Lighthouse for lunch. We had planned to get back to the boat by 2 pm to watch the movie onboard with the Hoppers, but the restaurant was crowded and we did not get out in time. So I texted Rita and apologized. After lunch Jackie headed back to the boat and me, Joe, JR and Gloria headed to the Alaska Back Country Outfitter so JR could find something he needed.

Jackie Bontrager

We were all back on board by five o’clock where we chilled and did our own thing until 8 pm when we met at the Vista Lounge for a performance of live music coupled with video from BBC called Wild Alaska. It was really neat; we watched baby black bears climbing trees, Brown bears catch flying salmon in their open mouths, moose about town, looking into living room windows, stopping traffic and one dragging a trail of Christmas lights draped on his antlers, all accompanied by the live musical ensemble; violins, bass, percussion and wind instruments.  The musicians did a great job, matching their rhythm and momentum to what was happening on the big screen.

After the show, me Rita and Gloria put on our swim suits and headed to the hot tub. We found one that was open till 10 pm. The two outside, our first choice, were bubbling and inviting except for what looked like fish nets draped over them. We were told they were being treated. So we ended up at the Lido pool on the other end of the boat, which meant we had to trounce back through the Lido Market in our terry robes and our bare legs. The dining was closed and the area was nearly empty, so it wasn’t too bad. We enjoyed our drinks and the relaxing bubbles. Back in our rooms by 10:15, sleeping soundly by 11.

Read Next Post Sept. 6, Juneau and Mendenhall Glacier
Read Previous Post Sept. 4,  Glacier Bay and a Show

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