More About Haines

There is a local bumper sticker that reads: “I Died And Went To Haines”. Pretty much sums it up. Today is a slow day for us. We visit the local church where they make us feel very welcome. The laundromat is populated by people from all over the US and Canada. We see bald eagles from our room and in the evening we retrace our route to the local lake where we saw bears yesterday and sure enough we see two different bears one grizzly and one black bear. There is a ship in port today it is the Empress Of The North a paddle wheel propelled ship. The town shops make sure to be open even though the max capacity of this ship is 240. Otherwise life goes on as normal. We drive out to the local state park to view the Rainbow and Davidson glaciers. We talk to the camp host who is from California. She & her husband get to stay in the park all summer but their cabin does not have electricity or running water.
We are really happy that we get to spend a few days here to get to know the place.
Internet access here is a challenge. The library does not have wifi and its computers are reserved a lot of the time. We intended to hit a local coffee house but it is closed when we get there. There is a commercial hotspot in town but we get only a slow connection so it doesn’t seem worth it. Then in a local shop the owner mentions the high school. Yes! Like striking gold. We park outside and are able to check e-mail, update the blog and catch up on favorite websites.
We catch news about heat waves in Texas and parts of the central US but here it is an unusually cool, wet summer. Susan is layered like winter in southern California.
One of the advantages of local knowledge is when and how to do things. Nancy and Dwight from church connect us with Allen who will take us kayaking. Sweet. We arrange for the kayak trip for tomorrow in advance of a cruise ship arriving in Haines. We go down to the ‘fast ferry’ terminal to check on boats to Skagway it is quiet and there will be no problem taking over any of the scheduled ferries and no problem coming back on the late 8 PM ferry. Tomorrow? For-Get-About-It. Just about all full even with extra boats added. There are a number (plethora ?; group ?; gaggle ?; flock ?) of cruise ships due into Skagway and an expected side invasion of Haines.
Because of the slow day today the ferry company downsizes to their smallest boat but it is still too big, the crew of six exceeds the five passengers. We cross the inlet toward Skagway seeing waterfalls and forested mountains on the way. We arrive in Disneyland/Skagway which is having a slow day with only one small and two large cruise ships in port. The good news is that the place is clean and freshly painted with numerous shops and restaurants. The bad news is that the place is does not feel authentic, most of the buildings are recently built to look old, the prices are high and there are long lines of people pouring off the cruise ships eager to get on and off on schedule. Sort of like lunch time in high school. There is a railroad trip available on the White Pass railroad. Each train consists of three engines and many cars. The place is as busy as Union Station and probably is carrying more tourists than they ever carried prospectors. And this railroad looks prosperous. Gold found in different ways these days. Still we are glad to be there today. The park ranger tells us the regular population of Skagway is 750 and tomorrow it will swell to 10 to 12 thousand, depending how many stay on board the cruise ships.

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