Independence Day in Haines, Alaska
Alaska Jack jumps into the back of Ranger Preston’s pick-up truck. Preston dresses in full gear. Mare, Shannon, Jenny and her dog Quark, join Jack and I in the back. Jordan stands off to the side. Preston turns on the sirens and police lights. We’re off…riding through Haines’s main streets in our Alaska State Parks float, for the 4th of July parade. We throw candy to children, dogs, and adults who line the streets. I wing some hard pieces of candy at a few cops.
After the parade, we sit in the park and eat grilled hamburgers and brats. When is the last time you sat on the park grass, relaxed, and ate amongst a friendly crowd? We have nowhere special to go. Wait a minute…the mud-volleyball tournament begins. We walk through bubbles, courtesy of Mr. Bubbles from Sesame Street, who now resides in Haines. Those kids make enough bubbles to wake Lawrence Welk.
A young man stomps away from the “Nail and Spike Hammering Competition.” He looks at me with a scowl. “Those damn Alaskan women win every year.”
I go fishing the next morning. Like a gambler in Vegas, I keep casting…one more time…okay, a few more times…that big one is due to hit me. I catch nothing. This day, the sockeye wins. Or, should I say that the house wins? The Chilkoot river stole another lure from me. So…we eat pizza tonight. The Klondike restaurant at the southeast Alaska fairgrounds, places us back into good luck. Steve, the chef, gives us some sockeye belly meat sautéed in curry. He has just enough sockeye left to substitute it in place of bacon, topping our pesto and sliced potato pizza.
Load-up the truck pretty mama, because we’re going camping…yes, we get a week-end get-a-way. Driving along the Haines Highway, we spot moose, eagles, bears, foxes and a wolf. Mountains, hills and lakes surround this drive known locally as “The Golden Circle.”
We cop a motel room in Whitehorse, Yukon. Mare takes advantage of the grooming opportunities. This marks her first grooming in two months! Wow…electricity and running water prove to be “Conde Nest” style. After hours of luxuriating, like a wolf after a rain, we take who is now transformed into “Yukon Jack,” on a walk along the Yukon river. Then, we dine at the “Klondike Rib and Salmon Bake” where barbecue ribs and baked halibut throw us into hedonism.
Three beds sit in our room…Jack sleeps on one, Mare on another, and me on the other. The television plays, “Criminal Minds,” making feel like we’re back in Phoenix. Stay tuned folks…we’re on our way to Atlin, BC…for a weekend music festival where we will sleep in the back of our truck for this Canadian-style, Woodstock experience.