We have been tourists for a few days in this trio of small towns, eating from local bakeries, drinking locally made coffee and beer, and taking a spectacular boat trip along the Inside Passage. We stayed three nights with a few friends in Haines (thanks everyone!), and met a number of friendly folks.
Haines is nestled at the base of big mountains at the tidewaters of the Chilkat River, way up the deep water fjord of Lynn Canal. We took a day trip to Chilkoot Lake (14 miles riding each way!) to see where the salmon run and the tourists play. While we stopped to read some information about the local bears a woman approached us and asked if we wanted some fish her husband had just caught and cleaned. Well, yes, of course! She gave us two bags of fresh, plump Dolly Varden, which we later baked to perfection with some cream cheese and dill. What a special treat for us!
The next day we took the fast boat to Juneau. This special tour was a gift from my parents for our wedding, and it included breakfast on the fast boat as we watched wildlife en route to Juneau, Alaska. We saw a giant colony of Stellar sea lions, harbor seals, humpback whales, and more bald eagles than we could count. It was raining for us, but the sealife didn’t mind a bit!
We spent a few hours in Juneau, which was fun because we got to go to the capitol building. Apparently, it was re-purposed when Alaska became a state and has been voted the least beautiful capitol building of all 50 states! We enjoyed our time in Juneau, but a few hours was enough to see the downtown sights.
The tour included a quick trip to the Mendenhall glacier too, and we took the time to hike up as near as they allowed.
We fast-boated right back to Haines that evening, happy tourists!
Finally, our last day of tourism was in Skagway, AK. This was another main stop on the gold trail of the Klondike Gold Rush. We enjoyed a ranger-led talk through downtown, where we learned about the colorful history of the con men, business men, and miners that passed through more than a hundred years ago. That night we stayed with a wonderful Warmshowers host who had ridden some of our proposed route in Mexico, and was happy to share advice on the road to come.
We decided to treat ourselves and get burgers and a beer sampler at the local brewery. It may have cost a full day’s budget, but it was a delicious meal.
The next day we relaxed in the morning, caffeinating sufficiently for the afternoon of riding, and then headed out for our next big stretch of road to Watson Lake. You will have to wait until tomorrow for our account of that stretch though! Thanks for reading!