I Died and Went to Haines
This title belongs to Norm Smith, a local man who came to our cabin recently with a woman visiting from Portland. It was his favorite saying when in high school. Now he transforms the words on a bumper sticker, which has sold since the early 70’s. He and his wife currently run the Fort Seward B&B. Thanks Norm for putting our feelings into words.
Mare disembarked from the ferry around nine o’clock in the evening. Clouds and a cool rain cannot stop Jack and I from jumping all over her. We head straight out to the log cabin, after purchasing a $5.oo box of wheat thins…high prices result from the long haul of goods.
Mountains surround us and I see their reflection in the sparkle of Mare’s eyes. The fresh air carries a scant scent of rain. Fire up that wood burner and fill a glass with wine. Blow up the mattress and lay it on the floor. Are we Adam and Eve in Paradise? Did that darn rapture thing take us? Nah, we’re just camp ground hosts at Chilkat State Park.
Out on the deck I hear a moose snorting…wait a minute, that’s not a moose, the sound resounds across the water from whales (humpback) spouting fountains in the Chilkat Inlet. Unbelievable.
Eagles hunt from the trees, sky and rocks along Mud Bay near the Chilkat River. They often fly by when we watch the glaciers from the deck. Along with the eagles, friendly folks flock to our viewpoint. They take photos, or explore with the campground’s telescope. We live in a fishbowl of sorts, but cannot resist interacting with so many interesting people from around the world. We greet them, learn from each other, and feel enriched when they leave. (Hopefully they feel the same way)
Not only tourists, but locals come to share the view too. One gal runs on the deck with her white labrador retriever. “A moose charged me!” While hiking Seduction Point Trail, her dog spooks the moose down near the meadow. The moose charges her, and she plays ring around the rosey while moose chases her around a tree. She notices a newborn calf in the weeds, explaining the irritation of mama cow. Then mama cow chases the dog, and then the dog chases mama cow, who frantically charges the gal again, before galloping away down the beach. The gal hightailed out of there, with her dog and an eye behind her head. Hopefully, the mama cow and calf are not separated for long.
Mare and I have attended bear training, but many folks tell stories of moose attacks, much more common than bear. Only three human deaths occurred in the U.S. last year from bears. Make lots of noise when hiking to scare bears away. If you surprise one and the bear comes toward you, stand ground and talk calmly, looking for an opportunity to slowly back away…easy to say. The bear may simply be looking for right of way, so get out of his path!
Should they charge you, and you don’t have time to draw your pepper spray, (or weapon) lay prone with your hands clasped behind your neck and play dead. If they keep biting you at this point fight back with everything you have. Ideally, you will see the bear and give them the right of way, so they can leave peacefully. Mare and I don’t go anywhere without our bear spray now…ironic that we used to carry such spray for use on humans.
Mare runs a 5k on Saturday morning. After her fine finish time of 29 minutes, (without any training and on hills!) we wash clothes and take showers at a laundromat. Sharing a shower that charges $3.00 for eight minutes of hot water is lots of fun.
Oh no, it’s time to attend the Haines BeerFest. One thousand people from all over Alaska, and some from the Yukon, enjoy craft brews from the southeast sector. Luckily, we get there early as 300 folks get turned away and contemplate storming the gates. Some of these brews contain over 9 % alcohol!
Better get out of here, we have a 10 mile drive, and the last two miles twist down a primitive road.