Sunday, August 17, 2014

Alaska and the Yukon - Haines, AK

July 23
Haines, AK

Today we have booked two excursions, which sounded good when we planned our trip, but not so great this morning as we had to get up at 5:30 for the first one.  Unfortunately, for some reason my phone switched to east coast time during the night and so my alarm went off at 1:30 AM and we both had a hard time getting back to sleep.  By the time the alarm went off at 5:30 neither of us felt like we had gotten much sleep and felt pretty tired.

We arrive in Haines.
Anyway, this morning we were going to take the scenic White Pass and Yukon Railway to White Pass Summit and back. The train goes all the way to Whitehorse, but we would only be going to the summit before turning back.  The train leaves out of Skagway, which is near Haines, but the only way to get there is by water.  You can actually drive there, but it takes eight hours, so the forty-five minute ferry ride seemed a better way to go.  As we arrived in Skagway we were amazed to see four big cruise ships docked there, we were the only ship docked in Haines.

The ferry arrives from Skagway.  That's how we'll get to Skagway and the train.
We leave the Statendam and Haines behind as we leave for Skagway.

As we arrived in Skagway there were four large cruise ships in there (the fourth is off to the left).
After getting off the ferry we could see numerous train cars sitting on different tracks with some loading and others unloading passengers.  Evidently they run quite a few trains as this is a very popular trip.  We were led to our train car where we found snacks on our seats which was welcome as we hadn’t had any time for breakfast.  After adding some more cars to our train, we were on our way.  The scenery was spectacular as we made our way up the mountain.  Once again, pictures are better than words trying to describe what we saw.

Inside our train car.
Leaving Skagway.

Just outside of town there was a train barn with an old engine out front.
It was a cloudy, dreary day, but the scenery was still spectacular.

There is Skagwau and the cruise ships way down on the water.
There is also a road that goes over White Pass.  This was the old '98 trail the
gold miners took to try and make their fortunes in the Yukon.

I got a little nervous when I saw this trestle ahead, it didn't look very safe.
I was relieved to see it was abandoned and we wouldn't be on it.

White Pass Summit, this is where the train reverses and goes back to Skagway. 
Other trains continue on and go all the way to Whitehorse.
As we were driven back through town to catch the ferry, we were amazed at how crowded the streets were, there was barely room on the sidewalk there were so many people.  I guess that’s how it is when there are four large ships in port, and we were glad our ship was docked in Haines.  It was a wonderful trip, but it was soon over and we were back on the ferry heading back to Haines and the ship.  We were both tired and I was starting not to feel so well, but we had our second excursion of the day in a couple of hours so we had a quick lunch at the Lido and then napped until just before 4:00 PM when it was time to leave.

Back to the Statendam after our train trip and the skies are starting to clear.
Our second excursion was a photography tour and there were only four of us going.  The tour was led by Thomas Pickerel of Rainbow Glacier Adventures who lived in Skagway, and his fourteen year old assistant Marty who lived in Haines.  The first thing we saw was an eagle’s nest high in the trees and were able to watch the baby eagles being fed a fish by their mother while the father looked on.  After a while the mother and father started eating their own dinner.  This is where we really missed Val’s camera with its long telephoto as I just couldn't zoom in close enough to get a very good pictures, but they turned out pretty good.

Here you can see the female and one of the babies in the nest as the male watches.

You can see both the babies on either side of the female.

It's not very clear, but the male is flying in with a small fish or something in its talons..
We moved on to a couple of more places where we got some shots of a waterfall and then took a hike and got some more pictures of eagles.  We also went to a glacier viewpoint that also had a lot of wildflowers and a spot with an old cannery to photograph.

The fishing must have been good as there were numerous fishermen in the river.
Poor Val, her camera was broken and she had to use my little pocket camera.

As we were hiking we found a grizzly bear print, luckily that's as close as we got to him.  In this picture the pad of the paw is at the top, and the toes are toward the bottom of the picture.


The day is done and we head back to the ship.  We had a great time.
By this time Val and I were exhausted and I had definitely caught what Val had so were glad to return to the ship.  It had been a pretty good photo outing, but except for the eagles we didn’t see much wildlife.  I didn’t really feel well so I had some fruit for dinner and went to bed and Val ordered room service.  We are schedule for another photo tour tomorrow morning so I hope I feel better, but we’ll see.

No comments:

Post a Comment