The drive was awesome with clear weather and tremendous views of the mountains and some glaciers on the way to Haines. We crossed back into the US about 40 miles from Haines but had to endure a few miles of construction (mud) as we neared Haines. Haines is located on the inlet with Juneau, the capital of Alaska, about 50 miles below Haines and Skagway 15 miles to the north. The area around Haines is full of wildlife including Alaskan brown bears and bald eagles. To get to Skagway you have to take the ferry or drive about 350 miles and to get to Juneau you take the ferry or fly there since no roads go to Juneau. If you get stuck in Juneau and lose you ID, you are out of luck. Both the airlines and ferries require a gov’t ID for travel. While in Haines we drove about 9 miles to Chilcoot Lake that has a small stream the drains about a mile into the inlet near Haines. Along the stream brown (grizzly) bears feed on the salmon returning to Chilcoot Lake to spawn. Both days there were brown bear sows with cubs feeding in the stream at the weir in the stream to keep the unwanted salmon from going upstream. The park rangers dip the silver and sockeye salmon over the weir to continue upstream to the lake to spawn. The bears come to the weir to catch the salmon. One day we saw about 8 bears and the last day we saw at least 10. Someone there said this place was the closest humans could get to the bears on a regular basis. As you can see from the pictures we were pretty close to the bears (but with bear spray handy).
One of the days in Haines we took the Fiord Express to Juneau. While in Juneau we had some delicious king crab for lunch and took a tour of a salmon hatchery. This was very interesting to see how they collect the salmon eggs, fertilize the eggs and raise the young salmon until they are ready to be released. This process has dramatically increased the number of salmon in Alaskan waters returning to spawn on their regular life cycles. Haines is beautiful and we would like to go back sometime in the future.