Bald Eagles, Bears and Totem Poles – Haines, Alaska

Our final stop in Alaska was Haines, and also our base camp as we explored Southeast Alaska.  From Tok we had  to meander through the Yukon Territory and a little bit of British Columbia in Canada (and of course U.S. Customs) before getting back to Alaska again.

Location of Haines, AK
Location of Haines, AK
Haines, Alaska
Beautiful mountain side along Haines highway.
Chilkoot Inlet, Haines Alaska
Haines viewed from Chilkoot Inlet

Haines has been tagged as the Valley of the Eagles due to the congregation of about 3,500 Bald Eagles starting in November when they feast on the late run of Chum salmon.  A 48,000 acre sanctuary has been formed by the state for the national bird. But we did not have to wait until November, as we saw the baldies perching on trees by the dozens and  just hanging out on the beach.  It was quite an awesome sight for the gathering of the white heads.

Haines, Alaska
More Bald Eagles on the beach
Bald Eagle
This is an injured Bald Eagle and the foundation is permitted to take care of it.

We were told that Bears hang out at the salmon weir by Chilkoot river. So off we went early in the morning to watch bears catch salmon.  We were not disappointed for the three times that we went there, they were there feeding on the running chum salmon.

Grizzly Bear, Alaska
Hi, I’m BJ, so we were told
Grizzly Bear, Alaska
He smelled us, so it looked straight up and we drove away.
Grizzly Bear, Alaska
Aha, there you are or he could be pooing.
Grizzly Bear, Alaska
Bear catching salmon for breakfast
Grizzly Bear, Alaska
This is how tourists get attacked by a Bear

Walking and driving around Haines we noticed several Totem poles.  They signify Alaska’s native legacy. They were carved to perpetuate Tlingit (pronounced Kling-it) cultural practices.

Friendship Pole, Haines alaska
Friendship Pole
Eagle Family Totem Pole, Haines Alaska
Eagle Family
A private pole by Chilkoot river, Haines Alaska
A private pole by Chilkoot river honoring a family there.

There were lots of hiking and biking opportunities at Haines, but man, the wind and the rain were unrelenting once again.  Instead we just checked out museums and historic sites.  First we went to Fort William H Seward which was established 106 years ago as a symbol of US Army strength.  The fort was decommissioned and is now a historic landmark.  Most of the building are now privately owned and local businesses reside there.

Fort W.H. Seward, Haines Alaska
Fort Wh Seward, a National Historic Sight
Soapsuds Alley, Haines Alaska
Soapsuds Alley, used to house non-commissioned officers, now houses stores and shops
Officers Row, Haines Alaska
Officers row before now privately owned

We watched the feeding of a Bald Eagle at the American Bald Eagle Foundation.  There were also more than 200 specimen of  local fish and wildlife.  The founder gave an engaging and interesting presentation of wildlife stories.

Haines Alaska
Porcupine and Mountain Goat one of the many displays
Haines Alaska
A captive Red Tail Hawk

Next stop was the Sheldon Museum, which houses collections of Native art, gold rush mementos and a display of  the  answer to the question “Whose Border is it?”

Haines Alaska
Answer to the question “Why isn’t Southeast Alaska part of Canada ?”

Next stop was the Hammer Museum where an impressive  display of 1,800 pounding implements is showcased.  Now that’s a lot of hammers!

The only place where you can see over 1800 hammers
Haines Alaska
It was quite a collection of different kinds of hammers

Haines Alaska

Due to its quintessential Alaskan look, Haines has also been a favorite of filmmakers.  The 1991 Disney movie “White Fang” was filmed in Dalton City as is “Gold Rush Alaska”  at Porcupine Creek.

White Fang set Haines Alaska
Movie set of “White Fang” now used as small stores and for state fairs
Haines Alaska
At the movie set, Steve got his growler at Haines Brewery

We could tell that the season is winding down as the RV park we stayed in, Haines Hitch up RV park  was pretty sparse.  We liked it for we had the west section to ourselves. It was a level grass site with full hook ups.  We liked it here even if the laundry cost $3.50 per load.  What can we say, everything in Alaska is expensive.

Haines Alaska
Harbor decorated with flowers
Haines Alaska
Outrageous gas prices
Haines Alaska
Almost empty RV park

We prepped Betsy, and the Honda for our departure from Alaska on a three-day ferry trip through the inside passage to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada.

 



 

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