Haines Highway

Our internet access in northern Canada and in Alaska has been mainly limited to the towns, primarily via cellular, occasionally connecting through public wifi. In the campgrounds, wifi network signals are typically either too weak or of limited bandwidth or both. My last post was uploaded at Juneau Airport while waiting for our connecting flight to Haines and the last photo in that post was of the flight from Gustavus to Juneau. Here’s one more:

The flight from Juneau to Haines was really spectacular. This time our pilot took a different route, flying at 7,500 feet over and fhrough the mountains, rather than down the Lynn Canal like last time.

It wasn’t long after flying over this glacier (Lynn Canal in the background)…

… that we made our approach into Haines Airport:

Arriving back at the RV around 7:00 p.m., we had time to do laundry for the first time on the trip. Early to bed, early to rise, we unhooked Thursday morning, pressure-cleaned the RV and Jeep at the self-service carwash across the street from the campground, topped off the fuel tank at the nearby gas station, then off we went, driving north on the Haines Highway (AK7) parallel to the Chilkat River.

About 10 miles out of Haines, we came upon a several mile long construction project, shoring up and stabilizing the river bank and also apparently cleaning up an earlier landslide:

Forty miles from Haines, the highway transits the Canadian border back into British Columbia at Pleasant Camp, then continues for about 45 miles through that province before crossing into the Yukon Territory again, the road known in Canada as Highway 3.

The next five photos were taken in British Columbia. The lefthand side of the road all the way from the Alaska border to the Yukon is the Tatshenshini-Alsek National Park; on the right is the Kusawak mountain range.

As you can see by these photos, the entire drive through BC was pretty much treeless.

The road was in excellent condition and we passed very few vehicles. For the most part, the drive was straight with occasional gentle curves and rolling hills and mountains off in the distance.

As we neared the Yukon, we came upon a gigantic, paved pull-off, it’s purpose a complete mystery to me. That’s Mt. Mansfield in the background.

And this is the view from where we parked for lunch, above:

After crossing into the Yukon Territory, it’s another 65 miles to Haines Junction (area pop. 840) where the Haines Highway intersects the Alaska Highway. From BC to there, passing Dezadeash Lake on the right (“Dez-day-ahsh,” photo, below), then Kathleen Lake on the left, the scenery continues much the same, although now to the west of the road lies Canada’s Kluane National Park (“Klu-ah-nee”).

There’s little in the town of Haines Junction other than a visitor’s center and a place to fuel up, which we did. Then another 50 mile drive north from Haines Junction, now traveling on the Alaska Highway once again, to our day’s destination, Cottonwood RV Park on Kluane Lake, just south of the settlement of Destruction Bay.

With just six miles to go, we saw what looked like a fire ahead at the Slim River crossing. But as we got nearer, we could tell that it wasn’t a fire, but some kind of dust storm.

Kluane Lake is fed by the Slim River, being primarily the runoff from the Kaskawulsh Glacier just up the valley to the left in the photo, below. The dust we were seeing was airborne silt that had been washed down from the glacier to the now dry river delta, then carried aloft by the wind funneled down the valley as the cool glacial air rises as it passes over the warm, dry delta.

As we crossed the Slim River bridge the dust was so thick we couldn’t see even 10 feet! [Note: the photos above and below where taken the following day from our Jeep as we drove back over the bridge.] We slowed to a crawl,…

… then proceeded around Kluane Lake to our campground. After getting the RV set up, I walked down to the lakeshore and took this photo, looking south, back toward Slim River. The dust cloud was making its way out over the lake.

No matter to us. Our view of the lake was divine!

4 thoughts on “Haines Highway

  1. I made 4 round trips between my cabin North of Fairbanks and my family living in PA and always managed one night at that campground on Kluane lake…. sitting there in the evening as the sun set on the lake did wonders for the stress of a long drive for this old man!

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