On Saturday I was looking at the Chilkoot Inlet, and I see this sparkle in the water…so I step out and off to the left was this Rainbow…a Rainbow which was under the clouds, running along the far shore of the inlet. Had a Cruise Ship been coming or going from Skagway, it would have gone right through it. This was a type of Rainbow that I had never seen before…very interesting.
Here is a shot of Fort William H. Seward, which lies on the western portion of Haines. The fort was established in 1898, and was the eleventh fort established during the gold rush. By 1904, 85 wood-frame buildings was constructed. However, by 1925, it was the only military installation in Alaska, and remained the only installation until 1940. By 1945, with the end of WW2, and with other nicer, more strategically placed installations having been built, Fort Seward was shut down. It is now an Art Colony, and has accommodations for housing tourist, a few restaurants, and is right next to where the cruise ships dock.
We drove through the old fort, which is not very ADA friendly, but it as very interesting looking at the 100 year old buildings, most of which were in good condition (although a few needed a fresh paint job.)
One of the things that Haines is known for is the eagles. Although we saw a lot of eagles over in Valdez, and some in Seward, Homer and even Skagway…Haines has the largest number of Eagles … but that is during the winter. They flock to the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve just north of Haines.
When one drives to Haines, they pass right through the Preserve. In Autumn, when the Chum are running up the Chilkat River and cold weather and longer nights are at hand, flocks of Eagles descend upon the Preserve for the winter, eating up the Chum Salmon, and anything else that resides along the Chilkat River which does not freeze over.
This view is looking north to the Preserve. The river is very wide, but not real deep. Today it is still full of water, lots of water, running down into the Pacific.
Now we are not going to be anywhere near Alaska when the cold weather hits, when the snow falls…so I found this picture above which shows what it can look like along the river during the fall/winter. I saw some pictures where the eagles are so numerous you could not count them. Some years they have counted 3,500 eagles at the Preserve.
Around the 20 mile marker from Haines there is a pullout where there is a nice set of information boards, like the one above, pertaining to Eagles, the Preserve, and other animals found in the area. I like this one because it shows the life cycle of a Bald Eagle going from chick to the stately look that we are accustom to seeing and knowing as the Bald Eagle. It take five years from going from chick to having the full white head, and familiar look that we associate with the Bald Eagle …which, by the way, is not bald.
Our time here in Haines has drawn to a close…we plan to be on the road by 9 am with our first destination being Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory where we need to stock up on Skruffy food, go to Walmart for more insulin for her, and then to the Real Canadian Superstore to stock up on supplies to get us to the lower 48. After a few days, we will then head to Hyder, where we hope to see some bears feeding on Salmon in the Fish River.
Note to family: We will not have cell phone use for a number of days, perhaps more than a week. Not sure if we will have coverage in Hyder or not. We will have Internet use most nights.