A Long Easter Weekend at Haines, Alaska – Part 1 of 2

Getting a very early start to this year’s RV season has been a focus for Cathy and I for many weeks, with 5 nights in Haines over the Easter weekend being the target. For most people, the Victoria Day (May 24th) long weekend is the start, so many services aren’t open yet, but in Haines, the Oceanside RV Park is, and we made reservations weeks ago. As the weekend approached, the weather forecast was fairly good, with daily highs in the high 40s, night lows just above freezing, a few showers, and some sun.

We really wanted to have a “toad” (a towed car) with us, so my first big job to get ready was to install the equipment needed on Cathy’s Chevy Tracker. It was a long frustrating job, but on Monday, 2 days before our planned departure, the rig was all together for the first time. It’s now 49′ 6″ long – I feel a bit like I’m back driving a semi (and I like it 🙂 ).

Class A motorhome with toad

I found some problems with all of the motorhome’s rear lights, but couldn’t figure out a solution, so our departure was delayed by a day while it went into the shop for what turned out to be an easy fix – it was a corroded ground.

As we departed at noon on Thursday (April 2), the weather forecast for Haines was looking even better.

Easter weekend weather report for Haines, Alaska
We only got to use the RV twice last year, late in the season, but the weekends at Atlin and Kluane Lake had eliminated all of our concerns about how the dogs and cat would react to our new lifestyle – they all loved it. The 409 kilometer drive to Haines (254 miles) went smoothly – I barely felt the car in tow – and we were settled in the RV park by about 6:00 pm Alaska time. Bella looked very relaxed that evening 🙂

Our dog Bella in the RV at Haines, Alaska
Our first outing the next morning was north to the Chilkoot River and lake, specifically to look for brown bears – that’s where I shot the photo of the bears that I use as the header of this blog. There were none, and this sign at the lake made it very clear that looking for them can sometimes be bad – that tourism is sometimes not good for bears.

Tourism is bad for brown bears at Haines, Alaska
The light was very flat and not good for photography, but the Chilkoot River is stunning in any weather.

Chilkoot River at Haines, Alaska
On the drive back to Haines, there was just enough contrast to get a couple of shots that I’m happy with, though both were processed as HDR images to enhance the contrast.

Driving to the ferry dock at Haines, Alaska

Driving from the ferry dock to Haines, Alaska
After a lunch break, we then drove south to Chilkat State Park. Although it’s closed and gated off a kilometer or so from the campground and beach, it was still a pleasant place to get some exercise. There was one other vehicle at the parking lot by the gate but we didn’t see anyone (the advantage of off-season travel 🙂 ). With a 14% grade, yes, the walk back to car was a bit slower!

A 14% grade going down to the campground at Chilkat State Park, Alaska
It’s hard to drive by this cannery at Letnikof Cove (often called Cannery Cove) without stopping for a photo or two.

A cannery near Haines, Alaska
This waterfall on the opposite side of Letnikof Cove was a great place to give the dogs a drink (Bella discovered the difference between salt water and fresh on this trip).

Waterfall at Letnikof Cove near Haines, Alaska
Looking straight up into the waterfall.

A small waterfall near Haines, Alaska
It’s great being able to stop to get photos like this one of Mud Bay Road – once the tourist season starts, there’s often too much traffic.

Scenic Mud Bay Road near Haines, Alaska
On Saturday morning at 04:20, there was just enough clear sky to see a display of aurora borealis, though not enough to justify driving to a viewing area away from city lights.

Aurora borealis at Haines, Alaska
By the time the sun came up (at 06:19), the skies had cleared, and we were clearly going to have a glorious day for wandering and just chilling. A new rest area at a lovely big beach along Lutak Road on the way to the ferry terminal was a wonderful place to start the day. Monty definitely agreed!

On the beach near Haines, Alaska
A couple of bald eagles even put on an impressive air show for us.

Bald eagles near Haines, Alaska
A tired puppy is a happy puppy, especially when she has a piece of driftwood to chew on 🙂

Bella on the beach near Haines, Alaska
Chilkoot Lake is much more spectacular in the sunshine, and we had lots of company there this time (none of them bears, though).

Chilkoot Lake, Alaska

Chilkoot Lake, Alaska
Haines has one of the most spectacular settings on any community in Alaska. Our RV can be seen on the shore in this photo taken from a huge parking lot on Lutak Road – where many of the “classic” views of Haines are shot from.

Haines, Alaska on a spectacular Easter weekend
The only 2 other RVs in the park with us were also people from Whitehorse, and the previous evening they had invited us to join them for Easter dinner. I certainly hadn’t expected a complete turkey and pork roast cooked over the campfire!

A whole Easter turkey and pork roast cooked over the campfire
While we were enjoying the warm sunshine, other people were celebrating Easter by getting in the first water skiing of the season. That water is cold!

Water skiing at Haines, Alaska, at Easter
Easter dinner with all the fixin’s, and we didn’t even have to tip the maitre d’ to get a table with a view!

Easter dinner on the shore at Haines, Alaska
The evening light was stunning (this was shot at 7:00).

Evening light on the peaks at Haines, Alaska at Easter
Monty had had a busy day, so when a chair opened up as we were all sitting around a propane fire pit, he claimed it and went to sleep! He had actually done the same thing the previous evening. When Monty decides that it’s bed time, he never passes up a good opportunity. I need to buy Monty a chair 🙂

Monty going to sleep in a camp chair

What a day that was. And with more sunshine forecast for Sunday, we went to bed well satisfied with life.



Comments

A Long Easter Weekend at Haines, Alaska – Part 1 of 2 — 6 Comments

  1. Very, very nice. Thanks for taking the time to tell your story. I always enjoy them even if I am jealous. 🙂

  2. What a way to spend Easter dinner! You can’t beat it! Looks like you hada a great trip and an nice start to the RV season. The pictures, as always, are gorgeous!

  3. Gorgeous is the word! The weather was gorgeous, but it’s hard to relate to everyone being outdoors when the temperature was in the 40’s.

  4. Thanks for your comments. I am soooo pumped about the awesome season ahead! Rejeana, you mean people there don’t waterski at 48 degrees? 🙂

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