Sunday, 24 July 2016

Golden Circle: the fabulous Haines Highway

After an amazing 3 days in Haines, we continued on the third and final leg of the Golden Circle up the Haines Highway back to the Yukon.  The magnificent mountains continued to dominate both sides of the road - it was another spectacular drive.  We made our first stop just shortly out of Haines at the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.  There were a few eagles in flight but nothing close up as one would expect in the fall when apparently thousands of eagles congregate here - probably a spectacle worth a trip in itself.  Haines has tour operators offering wildlife viewing raft trips up the Chilkat river to see bears and eagles by the river bank, likely worth the price during the salmon run.

It didn't take us long to cross back into Canada and one of the first sights in the Yukon to stop for was the jade green Million Dollar Falls, just a short walk from the parking lot.  It was spring and the rush of water down the cliff into a narrow canyon was quite impressive.  As we entered Kluane National Park territory, we stopped at the rock glacier which could be reached by a short hike through the forest although the climb up was quite steep.  Other than seeing the unique rock glacier, we also got a panoramic view of nearby Dazadeash Lake.  

Finally, our last stop - Haines Junction.  It is nothing like Haines - hardly little more than a tourist service area at the junction of the Haines Road and the Alaskan Highway with a mishmash of eateries, motels, gas stations, outdoor adventure operators and a prominent liquor store.  We stopped at the one and only bakery every day we were in town.  But it is an important gateway to a vast and dramatic wilderness area which we saw only a small part of in our ten days in the area.  

Haines Road

From one of several viewing platforms at the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve

A raft of tourists looking for wildlife by the river

Magnificent mountains on both sides of the road
Red clover in bloom
Million Dollar Falls

The Rock Glacier

Growing out of the rocks

Dezadeash Lake on the edge of Kluane National Park

Watch out for the next post:  The awesome Kluane Icefields!

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