Alaska - The Final Frontier
We finally made it to Alaska on June 20th… we cheated a little and cut down to Skagway from Whitehorse, Canada after seeing some pictures on a pamphlet. Skagway is one of the “fjord” towns along the coast where the mountains come right down to the ocean, cut down the middle from rivers and glaciers. The drive down to Skagway was beautiful as the pamphlet had shown. Skagway had gotten its fame from the Klondike gold rush of 1898. Hard to believe it’s only a little over 100 years old. We all panned from gold from some of the dirt they are still mining out of that claim and came up with a total of $42 worth of gold chips! That got Little Zhenya excited and she wanted to pan in each river we passed.
From Skagway we wanted to head over to Haines since they have a river there that bears are supposed to frequent when the salmon are running. It’s a 45 minute ferry ride around to the next fjord town, but they ferry for a 30 foot RV, tow vehicle and 3 people was a little more expensive than I was willing to pay, plus it left at 4:00 a.m.! So instead we drove 7 hours back up to Whitehorse in BC, Canada and then back down into Alaska to Haines. That drive was even more impressive with huge mountains covered in snow and a few glaciers!
At the river in Haines the salmon had not gotten into full swing so we didn’t see any bears, but we did go out onto a weir where a man with the Dept of Fish and Game was counting EVERY salmon that swims through the one gate in the weir across the river. He told us how the Dept. of F&G has gotten very sophisticated in monitoring the health of the salmon populations and one of his tasks was to “sample” 40 salmon per day by catching them in a net and pulling one scale off the fish’s back portion and sending that in for analysis. They can tell many things from the one scale - then he proceeded to show us how he does it. So cool.
There were many bald eagles in the area and many juvenile bald eagles which are quite difficult for me to tell the difference between a golden eagle and a juvenile bald eagle.
From here it was off to Anchorage on the AlCan Highway and up on the “Top of the World Highway” which we took because some folks from Sweeden warned us of the conditions of the road on the AlCAn. Yes, we saw firsthand why the AlCan gets such a reputation for being a rough road at one of our stops where a 40 foot camper had a smashed windshield and two broken headlights on its tow vehicle. More to follow!