After the exciting ferry ride described in our previous post, we found the Hitch Up RV Park in Haines and got settled in. Amazingly we were able to get our Direct TV system homed in on the satellites through a break in the trees. Dawson Creek was the last time we were able to see the satellites due to their low location on the horizon. We quickly regretted the news update from the lower 48.
The main things to see in Haines are, if you are lucky and we weren't, the bears feeding on salmon near the Chilkoot Lake, the glacier and fish packing facility at Chilkat Lake, and Fort Seward. Most of us probably forgot what we learned in school about the purchase of Alaska. Here is a cut and paste from a history website.
U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signs a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, the Alaskan purchase was ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s folly,” “Seward’s icebox,” and President Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden.”
Of course we now know that Secretary Seward's actions have provided the US with many natural resources like oil and gold. A little additional reading reveals that the British were interested in Alaska and after the US purchase quickly finalized the territory of British Columbia dashing the US government's hope of acquiring direct overland access to Alaska. Secretary Seward had nothing to do with the creation of Fort Seward in Haines. Here is a quote from Wikipedia.
It was the last of a series of 11 military posts established in Alaska during the gold rush era, and was Alaska's only military facility between 1925 and 1940. It provided a policing presence for miners moving into the gold mining areas in the Alaskan interior, and a military presence during negotiations over the nearby international border with Canada. The fort is named for William H. Seward, the United States Secretary of State who oversaw the Alaska purchase.
Officer's Quarters at Fort Seward
Originally there were two enlisted barracks but one was destroyed in a fire.
View of Ft Seward on left and Haines on right
On our last full day at Haines our friends decided to ride the ferry over to Skagway for a walking tour of the town. The ferry they were on was larger than the one we put our car and motorhome on. Take a close look at the photo below and notice the absence of the bow doors. Sure wish that was the one available when we made the trip.
Ferry entering the channel to Skagway
Glacier at Chilkat Lake
On Tuesday, June 14, we left Haines and headed up the Haines Highway intersecting back with the Alaska Highway.