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Headed for Haines


Bears, bison and moose feed along the road from Fort Nelson, BC Canada to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. This 12-hour drive takes a few hours longer because of intentional stops along the way. Got to sit and stare at the scenery while Jack my dog stretches his legs.


The sun still shines at ten o’clock in the evening in Whitehorse, Yukon’s capital city. Jack and I decide to stay for two nights. A morning walk along the thawing Yukon river is only one reason. We also enjoy the services available such as lodging, great food, beer and an oil change. This place is paradise for outdoor enthusiasts for kayaking, fishing, hiking, hunting and more. A local gal tells me that living in Yukon is much cheaper than in BC, partly on account of less taxes. She says, “BC stands for bring cash.”


Time to hit the road…after a week of driving mostly remote roads, I’m having conversations with my dog. “We finally have a short driving day today Jack, only two hours to Skagway where we’re getting a hotel.” Jack pants, nodding in approval. “Then we’ll take the forty-five minute ferry to Haines, our new home.”

Seventy miles later, things do not look very “Skagish.” A rare road sign reads, “Haines Junction.” I cannot believe that I got lost, so to speak. Only one turn-off to take from the ALCAN Highway, and I miss it? I’m almost out of gas. Luckily, a gas station appears and the attendant tells me that he lives here and had gotten lost on the one road before. I’m about 170 miles from Skagway, and 180 from Haines…so let’s drive on to Haines. Moral of this story…find treasure when lost. Black bears, moose and porcupines welcome us amongst a white carpet of frozen lakes and mountains.

Finally, through US Customs and into Alaska! The Haines Highway rolls through the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, where each November about 3500 American Bald Eagles converge to feast on salmon running up the bottoms of the Tsirku, Kieheni, and Chilkat Rivers. The captivating scenery along the road makes the drive dangerous, as I gaze at the scene and veer left to center.


Into the charming Borough of Haines, I cop a room at the Halsingland Hotel before Jack and I stroll along the Chilkoot Inlet to marvel at the snow-capped mountains. At the Fogcutter Bar I drink a cold one and Jack curls up on the floor. A biker from the “UGLIES” club shares stories about exhaust pipes, and I feel the friendliness of this town immediately.

We scope out the terrain in the morning with a drive out to Chilkat State Park. Fellow motorists wave at us and initially, I don’t know how to react. Back in Phoenix a wave from a driver usually involves the middle finger. Chains lock the gates to the park, so we walk two miles down the twisty, gravel, fourteen percent grade. Wow! I see the log cabin where Mare and I will be Camp Ground Hosts. The deck is huge and the view puts tears in my eyes.

Home Sweet Home

Then reality hits…we are going to live out here for four months without running water or electricity? What exactly does a Camp Host do? I’m a bit nervous to call the Ranger…as usual I’m too early and he expects us to arrive ten days from now.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pat #

    Glad to hear from you — and can’t wait to hear more!!
    Hugs —

    May 25, 2011
  2. Jason #

    This sounds oh so nice, then again at this time of the year anything that does not involve any form of school sounds oh so nice. Sorry we missed you on your way up through Oregon, have a great time.

    May 26, 2011
  3. What a great adventure!! I really enjoy your stories of said adventure(s), too.
    Don’t think I would be up to that type of “roughing it”..
    My idea of “roughing it” is staying at a Holiday Inn cause there isn’t a Hilton nearby!!
    Keep the photos and stories coming.

    May 26, 2011
  4. Linda McBryde #

    Glad to see you made it…and love reading your stories!! Please tell Marilynn I said hello!!! p.s. Tell her that Scotty won American-Idol in case she cares…….also wanted to send her Steven Tyler’s book now that I’m done with it. How do I do that????

    May 26, 2011
    • Thank you, Linda and Mare said she will send an email…as you know, she’s a huge Steven Tyler fan!

      May 26, 2011
  5. Mary Anne #

    Spectacular. Your writing paints wonderful images. Keep up the good work. Miss you two and Jack….

    May 26, 2011
    • Thanks for your kind words Mary Anne. Miss you too, Jack says hello, and we have a sleeping bag for you in the cabin.

      May 26, 2011
  6. alex #

    Good old Jack. Sounds like he’ll keep you and Mare out of trouble. Look forward to seeing photos of the interior of the cabin. Is there a gas stove?

    May 27, 2011
    • Hi Alex, yes we have a portable, double burner propane Coleman that I purchased at the Outfitter shop. They give us all the propane and firewood we can use!

      May 28, 2011
  7. john windust #

    Ron, my weather reports says its 50 and raining. More like Oregon, but the sun came out yesterday and it was 85. Hope the fish show up soon! I,m going to grill a Alaska Sokeye tonight that I caught at Fred Meyer for $3.99 a pound.


    June 5, 2011
    • Hey John, I caught a King yesterday…at Djon’s Delights, about 1.5 pounds and watched the guy cut the filet from the fresh 20 pounder ($23). Can’t wait to try out your fishing gear. May go on a charter to feel out the waters first. Ron

      June 5, 2011
  8. Dom #

    finally got a chance to look at your blog. The cabin appears to be well built to with stand any animal invasion. You do have a nice deck. Dom

    June 16, 2011

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