Back to Alaska

Five Finger Rapids on the Yukon River

Five Finger Rapids on the Yukon River

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.

Back to Haines 12Back to Haines 16We split the drive to Haines into two days, first traveling on the Klondike Highway to Whitehorse, our third stop there.

On the way, we crossed the mighty Yukon River that was once the travelled by sternwheelers  transporting miners and their supplies.

Back to Haines 17Back to Haines 22We 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.

Back to Haines 18Back to Haines 19Back to Haines 20Back to Haines 21Back to Haines 9Back to Haines 1And in honor of the old roadhouses, we stopped at a present-day roadhouse, the Moose Creek Roadhouse. It has a gift shop, and a restaurant, and lots of folksy art about the place.Back to Haines 5Back to Haines 6

Back to Haines 7Including an old telephone in a tree house. When you get up there and pick up the telephone, it rings inside the restaurant. There is also an old cabin with old artifacts on the property.Back to Haines 8

Back to Haines 2Back to Haines 3Back to Haines 4Back to Haines 14Back to Haines 28Right 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.

Back to Haines 23When 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.

Back to Haines 24Truthfully, we have enjoyed all twenty heritage sites we visited in the Yukon, and there were a few that we wanted to see that we missed.

Back to Haines 32We 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.

Back to Haines 26We 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.

Back to Haines 25The 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.

Back to Haines 27We 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.Back to Haines 29

Back to Haines 35As 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.

Back to Haines 37Back to Haines 36Back to Haines 31Back to Haines 30Alaska Driving Day 14 Recap

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

Back to Haines 33Back to Haines 38Back to Haines 39The 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.

Back to Haines 40Back to Haines 41Our plan was to stay a week, our first weeklong stay since Denali. We were hoping to enjoy what the town had to offer and to see lots of eagles and bears. Stay tuned.

~ Brenda


22 thoughts on “Back to Alaska

  1. Have thoroughly enjoyed your blogs and your beautiful photographs. I live in BC and have always wanted to go to the Yukon and Alaska. Have done by cruise ship several times which is pretty incredible. Am curious about whether you really need a to haul a toad up there….Did you find you used it much or did you do most of your travelling in the motor home….I think I could sure see having it if you broke down.

    • Thank you! We find that we do need our toad, since our motorhome is 39′ long, it is not practical to drive around in, especially on some of the roads around here. We do see a lot of people in Class C’s without a toad. What I would do differently is get one of those rock shields up between the motorhome and it to better protect it. The cruise ship experience is special, love the Inside Passage, we only saw one tiny slice of it this year (coming up in a future post).

  2. What an amazing set of pictures. The rainbows, log cabins, sunsets, wildflowers and Angel provided another reminder of the beauty of nature, animals and land. You created visions with words and images that most of us will never see. Thank you.

    Safe travel and enjoy the next adventure. Thank you for sending “Stirring the Senses”. Reading it made me smile and recall the adorable puffins who stole my heart.


    • Thank you, Joyce. It has been unforgettable. So glad you got the book already, we were wondering how long it might take. We are on our last stop in Alaska, Hyder, then heading down through British Columbia in a few days. Internet has been tough to find.

  3. I’ve followed you all the way and Ihave to say this set of photos are amazing. Truly brilliant pictures and great commentary. Thanks so much for sharing. I have traveled AK extensively by all manor of planes and seacraft. Now I am tempted to try it in our RV. I have been following multiple AK blogs this summer and yours has been the best by far. great job and terrific info, I hope the gold paid for some of the fuel burned.
    Be well.

    • Thank you so much! We have enjoyed it so much. We will write some summary posts where we hope to add more tips for those that want to bring their RV to Alaska, we highly recommend it. We just entered the contest for the gold, not sure how many do, but I imagine a lot, but it sure would be nice to win.

  4. Hi, Such an enjoyable read and view of the pictures this Labor Day morning. : ) I am so glad you guys got to do this trip. The picture of the Fireweed just above where Brenda references getting back on the Alaska Highway is just amazing. It looks like a painting! Take care, hope to see you all soon in CO. Karen

    • Thank you, Karen! The fireweed was just incredible. We are not going to make it to Colorado this year, it will be too cold by the time we get anywhere close 🙁

  5. Every where UNDER the rainbow. Should be your new theme song. You guys have seen and done so much. Really do like the Island Girl enhanced by a rainbow. Thanks for the great pics and descripts.
    BTW President Obama was north of the Arctic Circle pretty much when you were. Did you meet????

  6. That double rainbow over the mountains and the one Island Girl is sitting under our beautiful. Even though the meadows are beginning to go to seed, they brilliant colors are lovely. Island Girl did indeed need a bath!

    • The rainbows are crazy. We are watching the fall colors as we travel south. Island Girl is getting (another) bath tomorrow, not too thorough since she will get very dirty again.

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