This entry is REALLY LONG and PHOTO INTENSIVE!
ARRIVAL IN HAINES - Tuesday, August 11th
Just after descending from the mountains that surround Haines, we came to the US Customs station. We were so worried about what we would face at the border crossings - both coming and going - and there was no reason for it. Crossing was a piece of cake. We were asked a couple of questions, the most important one being “Do you have any firearms or ammunition”, with “Are you carrying any alcohol or tobacco products?” as the second most asked question.
Canada asked us if we were transporting pets, but didn’t ask to see any documentation on them. The other border crossings didn’t even ask about pets. I’ve heard horror stories from folks crossing in and out of the US from Canada, so I’m sure that there are occasions when things don’t go as smoothly. In fact, one couple we met told us a story of one of their friends having their entire RV ‘tossed’ and searched by border agents - a three hour ordeal, which resulted in several broken items and a huge mess that they had to clean up (the agents don’t put things back when they’re done). I’m so glad that wasn’t the case with us.
On the way into Haines, we passed several fish wheels spinning in the Chilkat River. This is the area where the largest gathering of bald eagles migrates through in the fall - with the Haines Eagle Festival held in November drawing thousands of bird watchers and photographers to the area.
We arrived in Haines around 5:30pm and found our RV Park easily (Haines Hitch-Up RV Park). The park is impeccable in cleanliness and tidiness. Each site is grassy and level, the rest rooms and showers are immaculate, and it is located within an easy walk of downtown Haines. (Map of Haines at right - click to enlarge)
We made a quick dinner, and then drove out to Chilkoot Lake State Park - 11 miles from downtown Haines. The drive to the park is lovely, skirting Portage Cove, Chilkoot Inlet, Lutak Inlet and then finally the Chilkoot River, until the road ends at Chilkoot Lake.
The river and lake are known for good fishing opportunities, and where there’s good fishing, there’s bound to be bears. We were told by several folks to visit the park near sundown for a chance to see the bears fishing - especially near the weir which is operated by the Alaska Dept of Fish & Game.
Steve was chomping at the bit to do some fishing. It hasn’t been a really good year for him, and he loves the challenge of the catch just as much as actually catching something. At this time of year, the fish aren’t what he calls “keepers” (fish snob that he is!), but it’s enjoyable to hook them. We parked the truck at the end of the road and he joined several others on the bank of Chilkoot Lake. I wandered around with my camera, taking photos of the amazing scenery.