Friday, August 1, 2008

Alaska '08 Day 50, Beaver Creek to Haines

Thu July 31, 2008

I saw a moose in a pond just as we started this morning, before Burwash Landing. And we saw a coyote in the road a couple miles from there. Burwash Landing is a rough looking community. Destruction Bay actually has some houses. Kluane (klew-on-ee) Lake is more than 60 miles long, it took us over an hour to drive around it. They say the lake has lake trout, northern pike and grayling. Can't make any time on the north end cuz of the heaves, this is some bad road. Burwash Landing to Destruction Bay the road is good then bad again into Haines Junction. We stopped at the Kluane Park Visitors' center at the south end of Kluane Lake (Slims River) and again in Haines Junction (the one in Haines Junction is pretty big). Haines Junction is an actual town, there are numerous businesses and nice looking homes.

Tetlin up to the area before Burwash landing has lots of small lakes and we saw a couple swans in most of the lakes.

The ride from Haines Junction to Haines is more pictureque than the ride through Kluane. The further south you get the higher the mountains and the narrower the valley. It is like 150 miles Haines Jct to Haines and there really aren't any communities, just a couple lodges.

We saw a big grizzly right along the road as we started to climb the pass into Haines.

The pass into Haines is more wide open than Skagway or Valdez but just as barren.

Before the pass there are some people doing ranching (maybe indians). We saw lots of ground squirrels and an owl on a reflector post next to the road at the pass air strip. Over the pass there was lots of clouds and rain. The Yukon border is somewhere before the summit, the BC border is after the pass. The US border crossing is at the bottom of the pass. The bottom of the pass is more than 40 miles outside of Haines. Not long after the summit you get into tall pines and everything is green and lush. The biggest pine trees we've seen in quite a while. Once down the pass the road follows the Chilkat river for a long ways right into Haines. The road is right at river level and winds along the river bank through tall pines and cottonwoods, pretty different than what we've seen in Alaska until now. We stayed in the Haines Hitch-Up RV campground and it is about the cleanest campground we've seen this trip, they actually have thick green grass on each site.

Long drive today, never could get any speed up until south of Haines Junction. The jeep beak-away brake was acting up from all the bouncing on the heaves and I heated up the jeep front brakes a couple times.

358 miles today.

6699 miles so far.

- Jon


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