We had started making our plans for Haines while we were still in Tok and had internet. We knew there would be no internet for the next several days. We thought 3 nights in Haines would be enough and then take the ferry to Skagway instead of driving back into Canada and crossing back into Alaska again. So we started making reservations for a campground, ferry ride to Skagway, and while we were at it, the famous White Pass Summit excursion in Skagway.
There were two campgrounds in town and we chose the smaller one along the waterfront. Who doesn’t love a waterfront view? We needed electric and water and a place to do laundry. This place would work. They only had 2 nights available with hook ups for our stay, but we could dry camp in the front area for the last night if we wanted. We had booked the two nights with services and would figure out the last night later.
Finally, we arrived in Haines. As you drive around town and the surrounding area, you notice several totem poles. And the town is very small and quaint. It would take no time at all to find our campground. The campground was very near to a few museums but we chose not to check them out in our limited time there. I wanted to see bears!
Before we checked into our campground, we took an exploratory drive down along the coast toward the Chilkoot River. We saw where the ferry dock was and enjoyed the views along the water. There were some pullouts and a few totem poles. Then we arrived at the Chilkoot Recreation Area. The road into the recreation area is narrow and crowded. There are fisherman all along this beautiful scenic river and their vehicles are parked nearby. There are sacred places along the river and another totem pole.
We noticed a strange fence like thing that ran all the way across the river. This is called a weir and is used to block the fish so that they are forced to go through only one opening and can be counted by the rangers. As we continued up the road, we noticed a group of people with long lens cameras and tripods. We looked at where they were looking and sure enough there was a mama bear and two cubs on the other side of the river. So we tried to find a spot to pull off of the road somewhat and joined them to watch and photograph the bears.
After the bears were out of sight, we drove into the camping area and checked it out. We noticed a couple of sites open and they filled up fast; by the time we had checked out the campground and headed back out, the campground was full.
Now we had a plan. This is where we will hope to camp in two days and we know we need to head there early. It was getting late, so we moseyed back to the Oceanside campground in town. But I was excited! I saw bears in the river! We settled into our campsite and walked over to one of the nearby restaurants for dinner. Our dinner did not turn out to be wonderful, which did not give us a nice start off to our stay.
Oceanside RV only has about 25 sites with full hook ups backed up to a fence along the road. It’s a nice big gravel parking lot. No vegetation. They allow some dry camping along the front of the lot immediately overlooking Portage Cove. The views from your campsite are spectacular! The location is great. It is right next to the harbor, within short walking distance to restaurants, a grocery store, museums, and shopping. The only downfall was that the large chunk gravel parking lot was tough on our senior dog’s paws. And even outside of the campground, there weren’t too many good spots to walk our dog.
The following morning was laundry time. This was the first time I had to wait really long to use the appliances, of which they only had two washers and two dryers. We also needed to do some basic cleaning while we had water and electric. Later we walked to the store and got a few necessary groceries. Finally, dinner and prepping to leave in the morning.
Overnight: Oceanview RV Park, Haines, AK
Weather: Partly sunny (48/64)