Friday, January 29, 2010

A beautiful morning in Haines and boarding the ferry

The Chilkoot River Lodge is owned by Fred and Sue Folletti. Not only did we have a very peaceful and relaxing night at their lodge but the next morning we woke up to the most spectacular view ever and met the owners who were so friendly to us. They invited us to their home that was decorated like a gallery and showed us their hobbies and their arts. The view out of their enormous windows was breathtaking and I can see why they picked that spot to build on. Not only was I intrigued but the boys and Bo were so interested in all the conversations we had with both Sue and Fred. Staying at their lodge and meeting them personally made such an impact on our last Ifdays on Alaskan soil. If we knew it would be this pleasant we would have traveled a day earlier so that we had more time in Haines. Sue is also a local artist and owns the Chilkat Valley Arts

If we are to ever go back to Haines, this is where we will stay. We found out later on at the ferry that other families paid more for the motels in Haines and did not have a comfortable and beautiful stay like we did at the Chilkoot River Lodge.

We got ready and took our time taking pictures along the property making sure we did not miss such great photo opportunities. I can imagine how beautiful this place must be in the summer and the entertainment of watching the bears fish off the river.

Bo was sneaky and snapped this picture of me while taking pictures of the scenery around us.

The view

After we packed up and said our goodbyes we decided to take the road below us and explore Chilkoot Lake State Park before heading to the ferry terminal. We did not realize the fog was bad and the road was scary. But we did make it to the lake and make it back out in time to leave.

Foggy Chilkoot Lake

We finally headed out and took one last look at the lodge.

On our way to the Ferry Terminal.

Icicles off the side of the cliff

We made it to the terminal, picked up our tickets and waited in line in order of what vehicle moves first. I kept on getting out of the truck because I was nervous. If you know me well then you know how claustrophobic I am. I was so afraid of being jammed in this ferry with no room to breathe. So the anticipation got the best of me. Once we did park inside the ferry, we were too in a hurry to grab our luggage out while others were pulling in to care about how packed we were going to be in there. Although we realized real fast how small our cabin was and barely spent any time in there except to sleep (if we could). My time was spent in the cafeteria where the lights were on 24 hours and you could walk out on the deck and take in the view and breathe. Other places in the ferry the lights were out so that others who did not have a cabin could sleep.

Lined up and waiting to board.

Finally boarding.

Once we were situated in our cabin and all our luggage in our room. We decided to go on one of the decks to watch the ferry pull away from the dock and start on our voyage through the Inside Passage.

Now to just relax and enjoy the view for 3 days until we dock in Bellingham, Washington. With no internet and intermittent phone services we spent a lot of family time together. Which after the months before packing and driving out of Fairbanks and still dealing with the kids in school and in wrestling this was a much needed break.

Until next time.....

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Going backwards for a bit...Haines, Alaska

I promised to catch up on our travels from Alaska to Kentucky so here it goes starting with Haines, Alaska.

Before reaching Haines, Alaska we had to drive through the Yukon Territory of Canada. Here is the entry:

We drove from Fairbanks, Alaska to Haines Junction, Yukon Territory Canada and stayed the night there for some needed rest at the Alcan Motel. The next day we woke up and had breakfast at the motel's restaurant and headed back out to drive the Haines Highway. In Haines Junction there is a fork on the road. One way will lead you to Whitehorse, Canada and on to the rest of the Alcan Highway. The other direction heads to Haines, Alaska and crosses the US border back into Alaska. There is not much in the small town but a restaurant, an motel and gas stations but the St. Elias mountain range surrounding the community was gorgeous.

Haines Junction

Haines Highway headed to Haines, Alaska

We finally made it into Haines around 2:30pm and knew the sun would be setting soon and so we drove around taking pictures of the town before heading out of town towards Chilkoot River and Lake State Park to where our lodge was located.

The dock area in Haines.

There is a lot of history in Haines. One of the historic landmarks was Officer's Row.

In 1902, ongoing border disputes between the U.S. and Canada provided the justification for the first permanent army post in Alaska. The white buildings of Fort William H. Seward still stand and are a distinctive landmark of Haines. Decommissioned in 1947, the fort was bought by a group of war veterans with hopes of creating an arts and commerce community. The buildings are now privately owned homes, accommodations, restaurants, galleries, and shops. (taken from If you would like to know more about these historic homes here is a link to more information.

As we drove around town I wanted to set eyes on a couple totem poles. One was the killer whale totem pole in front of the Fire Station and the other was the totem pole in front of the Haines Public Library.

Killer Whale Totem

A dear friend of mine Susan Stevenson a local photographer traveled to Haines in August of 2009 and happen upon the making of the public library totem. Here is a link to her entry and pictures of the totem before it was erected.

I was so happy to have found the totem pole finished and took pictures to be able to share with Susan since she talked to the designer/instructor Jim Heaton. The totem pole was beautiful and a passerby mentioned to me that the box was a time capsule.

Here are pictures of the finished totem.

We took a couple more pictures around town then headed out of town to Chilkoot River Lodge and saw a beautiful sunset on the way there.

Looking back at Haines downtown...

The sun already setting at about 3:30pm

Heading to Chilkoot River Lodge

Finally making it to the lodge and enjoying a spectacular view and friendly hosts.

Our room was not only comfortable but the glass sliding doors opened up to a covered deck that boasted the most spectacular view in Alaska.

After unloading our luggages we headed back into town to grab a bite to eat at the Lighthouse restaurant. The docks looked neat in the dark and to think it was only about 5pm.

We knew once we were done with dinner and back at the lodge we were going to have one of the most comfortable nights of sleep since the trip started. And we were going to need it since we will be embarking on the ferry for 3 days the next day.

If you ever have a chance to travel to Haines, AK enjoy every bit of the small town atmosphere along with the magnificent landscape.