We left the Dempster and headed back to Alaska. Our next to last stop in Alaska was going to be Haines, a town we first visited on our last trip there. On that trip, our cruise stopped in Skagway, but we had our hearts set on seeing eagles, so we took a ferry to Haines, where we rafted on the Chilkat River and saw about 30 eagles. It was quite a memorable experience.
On the way, we crossed the mighty Yukon River that was once the travelled by sternwheelers transporting miners and their supplies.
We stopped at the Montague Roadhouse Historic Site. A log cabin ruin that used to be a hotel, bar and restaurant, whose walls are still fairly intact. As I stood inside the structure, I could feel the energy of the stories that have been a part of this place.
Right after we stopped, one then a second Holland America Cruise Lines Tour Bus stopped there as well. Tons of people got out. As we walked to the parking area from the old cabin, we found a row of people taking photographs of our muddy tow car. The Coquí is now famous!
Alaska Day driving day 13 recap:
Road Name: Dempster Highway
Road Type: 2-lane
Road Conditions: Extremely muddy with minimal washboard but lots of potholes
Road Name: Klondike
Road Type: 2-lane
Road Conditions: Fair, frost heaves, rough patches, some gravel sections
Miles Today: 360
Driving Time: 8
Total Miles in Canada: 2497
Total Miles since entering Canada: 4765
The drive was through heavily forested land, with glimpses of rivers and ponds.Whitehorse is the capital of Yukon Territory and the biggest town in the territory, not to mention centrally located, so it offers a multitude of services. And it is also a pretty cool town.
After arriving in Whitehorse, we immediately looked for a place to wash the car and RV, and found a very nice establishment across the street from the airport (we can not recall the name). It had two extra large bays and the staff was very nice even though we left them a very muddy mess!
Whitehorse is the capital of Yukon Territory and the biggest town in the territory, not to mention centrally located, so it offers a multitude of services. And it is also a pretty cool town.
When we first entered the Yukon this past June, we each received a Yukon Gold Explorer’s Passport. There is a contest from June 1 through August 31st that requires the books to be stamped at either ten or twenty participating sights, mostly Yukon Heritage. Ten sites qualified for one ounce of Klondike placer gold and twenty sites for two ounces. We had visited nineteen!
So off we went to our twentieth site before leaving Whitehorse. Hector selected the Public Arts Museum because it was free.
We are so glad we went! There were two exhibits. One was about an architectural contest to create new designs for communities in the Nunavut Territory, Canada’s third territory. This territory comprises two million square kilometers, some of Canada’s most remote with less than 20 miles of government maintained roads and no road access from the mainland. The exhibit provided statistics on the various communities in Nunavut, which has a total population of 29,000 people. It also had displays on current designs as well as proposed architectural concepts. Fascinating.
The second exhibit consisted of First Nations artifacts, intricately woven and beaded clothing and art pieces on a variety of media. There were some gorgeous pieces.
We returned to the Visitor Center for some WiFi and to show our passports. Once they verify your number of visits, they enter you for the appropriate level, and you keep the passports with the stamps as mementos. The stamps are beautiful, depicting symbols of the various sites.
We got back on the Alaska Highway, returning to Haines Junction to intersect the Haines Highway to Haines. The Alaska Highway portion of the drive was mostly through heavily forested land until it approached Haines Junction when there were more open views of mountains.
The Haines Highway is one of the most beautiful roads we have traveled on this year, and that is saying a lot. It has views of glaciated mountains, rivers, an alpine valley, and lakes. Although on this driving day it was very cloudy and raining lightly that just gave the place a moody and interesting look.
We could still see lots of fireweed, but it was “going to cotton”, in its last stages it dries, turns a deeper red, then produces seeds encased in cotton. It must have been amazing there during the peak of the wildflower season.
As we drove over the highest point of the highway, the weather cleared a bit, and a double rainbow appeared. These rainbows have been our welcome to several areas. This time, Hector was able to capture a photo of one of the rainbows over Island Girl.
Road Name: Alaska Highway
Road Type: 2-lane
Road Conditions: Generally good with occasional frost heaves
Road Name: Haines Highway
Road Type: 2-lane
Road Conditions: Started out really smooth, Hector called it autobahn, then after the U.S. border it got a little wavy with some patches.
Miles Today: 246
Driving Time: 5:30
Total Miles in Alaska: 2288
Total Miles in Canada: 2703
Total Miles since entering Canada: 5011
The border crossing is about 40 miles north of Haines. The officer once again asked about guns and other weapons, and asked if we had purchased anything in Canada that we were planning to leave in the U.S. Then she motioned us through. Three more border crossings to go.
Haines looked just as we remembered it, a really cute town. And we settled into our campground, Oceanside RV Park, overlooking the Lynn Canal.