Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Anchors Aweigh

After seven days in Skagway we are up early with mail and truck part in hand and at the harbor terminal at 5:30 ready to board the ferry for the 1 1/2 hour trip to Haines.

Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the US combined, and more than one half of its coastal cities are unreachable by conventional road.

The state-owned Alaska Marine Highway System, the first water-based highway in the US to become a National Scenic Byway, is the public transportation system that connects these cities over a 3500 mile route with 33 ports.

After checking our propane tanks, we were allowed to board and soon left this colorful Gold rush town with its Vaudville shows as several cruise ships came into port.

  The drive North of Haines took us high into the St. Elias Mountains. Snow-caped peaks, rushing streams, and waterfalls greeted us all day long.

Fish wheels along the Chilkat River were empty today as we are about one week early for the salmon to arrive here. Continually rotated by the rivers current, the traps scoop up fish which then slide down a shoot into a holding bin in the water below. Fish trapped here are weighed, tagged and released back into the river.    

The Klukshu summer fish camp and village was empty as well. These first nation people come here during the salmon run to catch, dry and smoke their winters supply of fish.

We will come back here in late August to witness this age-old tradition and, hopefully, buy some fish.

   Tonight's camp is on Lake Dezadeash and once again we cook dinner on free wood provided by Yukon Government camps and enjoy the peaceful beauty all around us.

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