Monday, June 24, 2013

DAY Thirty-two: Haines ferry to Skagway

Left Haines Junction Yukon for Haines, Alaaska because so many different riders had told me the road to Haines was special. One of the most spectacular vistas to see. Am looking forward to it.

The morning started out promising, riding south out of Haines Junction. The road is wide and SMOOTH. The smoothest road I have ridden in two weeks, at least for the first 120 kms it is.


Looking west toward Kluane National Park, St Elias mountains, glaciers beyond...

Then the clouds came down....


Offering bits and pieces of vistas

Only to lift then drop again

High above the tree line, in the clouds, Da'mit saw a place where HER people drink water, so we stopped....

Ran with the fog lights on more to be seen more than to see. But then we never saw another vehicle for the first 80 km.

Rushing mountain stream from the melt off.


We finally crossed into Alaska at a lower elevation. The road followed the river for miles and miles, twisting and winding along. The people here are preparing for the salmon run, expected to start any day. Campsites are filling up, motels full, boats and rigs everywhere.

A most unusual fishing boat that I have only seen once before, and that was on the Yukon River near Dawson City, a wheel boat for fishing. Up there, only the First Nation people are allowed to use them as they fish for the whole village, not commercially nor for one family, but a village. Then everybody pitches in with the cleaning, processing, drying and smoking. Here are some shot of what they look like....

Three large net scoops mounted on a center axle between two large pontoons.

On each side is a canvas funnel to catch the falling fish.

The three large net scoops are turned by the water flow, spinning and lifting the catch, which slides toward the inverted "V" at the bottom of each scoop and into hoppers on either side, only to end up inside the pontoons. A fish combine.... not John Deere though. Maybe an International Harvester....... lol.

On a smaller river, Spotted a man-made channel that forces the migrating salmon through a narrow spot on their way upstream. A chalk board nearby is updated daily with the salmon count, so everyone knows when the migration has actually started. In the RV parks, large families of several generations are gathering, almost a festive atmosphere before the work of harvesting begins. They say even the bear sighting numbers are increasing, all in anticipation. The survival of both humans and wildlife depends on a successful salmon harvest which normally starts around the first of July. Because so much depends on a good catch, you cannot take a chance and be late. Better be early and be ready, than a day late and starve next winter.

Near Haines, spotted a perfect place for newlyweds to retreat to.......

Even has flowers in the windows(?).....ahem, openings

Arrived in Haines, where the fish fly...

After checking in with the Alaska Marine Highway agent, was going to take a short ferry ride to Skagway, then back up to the Alcan to ride south again. However, found out that there is a ferry going to Bellingham Washington, leaving tomorrow night, Monday. The internet schedule said the next ferry going south was leaving Thursday, which was too long for Da'mit and I to be in one spot.

We booked a spot for Da'mit in the hold and a deck chair for me. Can camp under heaters on the deck, no expensive cabins for this old timer.

So we rode to where the road ends at Chilkoot Lake. No bears out yet, only lots of sign telling you how to act around bears. Both humans and bears share the same fishing streams, often in close proximity. One sign in particular caught my eye. It said to leave open spaces between parked vehicles so the bears could get down to the stream too.

Maybe tomorrow we see something.

Finally found a small room for the night far from the fishing areas.

Nite all,


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