Heading to Haines

After leaving Valdez, we headed for the intersection every driver into or out of Alaska must pass – Tok. (Rhymes with Poke.) From there we crossed the Canadian Border, and we again had no trouble at all checking into Canada. We worked our way down to Beaver Creek, and on to Destruction Bay. Everyone says the Alaska Highway is a terrible road, and the stretch between Tok and Destruction Bay is the absolute worst. I’ll admit that I found most of the Highway to be better than anticipated, but the Tok to Destruction Bay section is as bad as it’s reputed to be. I think the name “Destruction Bay” taken from the Indian words for “Destroy Vehicles.” We’ve done OK, but lots of things vibrate loose or shift around…

The whole drive is beautiful, to distract you from rough roads. So very worth the trip!

We’ve seen the Fireweed go through all its various stages. First it had bright Pink/Purple flowers, then later they pretty much die out, and white puffs of cotton appear. Then later, the lower leaves turn bright red. They are beautiful at any stage!

Haines Junction

Arriving at Haines Junction was a relief… It hopefully means the worst of the roads is past. It is a pretty small town.

We were told that the most photographed thing in Haines Junction is this “Animal Muffin.” A somewhat odd sculpture of a mountain top with lots of animals posing. Whatever.

Then the most photographed church in the Yukon is this interesting Catholic church built from a used army Quonset hut in 1954.

The inside is very pretty, and pretty cozy.

This must be the second most photographed church in Haines Junction, because it’s the only other one I found. But It looks right at home in the mountains.


Haines is a beautiful 3 hour drive from Haines Junction. Haines is in Alaska, Haines Junction is in Canada. (Down in the South East part of Alaska you drive across borders rather frequently.) We had a lot of rain, but that made for fascinating clouds when it let up.

Our campsite was right on the water! What a magnificent view!

Fort William H. Seward

Haines was founded in 1881. They wanted a fort to insure orderly growth of their town, and so work began on Fort Seward in 1903. This was not a fort like a fortress – it consisted of many beautiful houses for soldiers and administration purposes. They also had a hospital and amusement buildings. They used kerosene for light until electricity was available in the 1920’s. At its height, the fort had a complement of 241 enlisted men. By the 1930’s the fort only kept about 100 men, and by the end of WWII, the fort was closed. Local townspeople did not want to see the fort disappear, so a group of folks bought the land and are renovating some of the buildings. The pictures below are some of the buildings of Fort Seward.

Most of the buildings seen in this photo are remnants of the fort.

Haines also has a very unique museum… a Hammer Museum!

This fascinating museum is a display of over 2,000 hammers. All shapes, sizes, and different uses are displayed here.

Tim Allen, a crazy guy with a crazy show called “Tool Time,” found out about this museum and sent them some Tool Time logo’d goods, including the dies used to brand the logos on tools.

It seems banks used to use a special hammer to cancel checks! It would have a some sort of star shape on the head, and when a check was struck, the cuts would show the shape as below.

A Hammermobile in the front yard…

Fascinating Kinetic Sculpture…

And a hammered Moose.

The most interesting part of the Hammer museum was meeting a bunch of fun folks. We got to talking about funky museums we’d seen and other nonsense, and we traded cards. They are traveling with their two kids, and another family that has six kids! Cliff and Mandy have a blog (a lot more contemporary than mine!) – RouteDownFam.com. They were staying just a couple spots down from us at the Oceanside RV park. When I got back to my rig, I looked up their site, and watched a video on Paradise RV park in Palmer. I loved that place, and wanted to see what they thought of it. Not only did they love it, but they showed a glimpse of our motorhome in the video. They were there at the same time we were! So I had to tell them… and while we had a great time chatting, it turns out they have seen my “Cousin,” Angela and her family, who are traveling Alaska too. It felt like a family reunion! Such cool folks!

The small boat harbor was right next to our campsite. Absolutely beautiful, if you like boats!

Chilkoot Lake

We took advantage of a beautiful day, and put the kayak on Chilkoot lake. Maybe a fifteen minute drive from Haines, it feels like some other world! The clouds made for breath-taking scenery. The water had that interesting shading that comes from glacier water.

I had to try and make a short video of the amazing beauty of Chilkoot Lake:


  1. Beautiful pics and stories. The glacial color of the water and the changing of the seasons with snow and clouds makes for such interesting pics. Great memories! Have fun…

  2. I have loved following you on your adventure to Alaska. Bob and I along with our 4 kids drove that road, then gravel in 1972. Our oldest son had just turned 16 and he drove a truck pulling a trailer all the way with Bob and I in our car. Lots has really changed since we did that trip but we did go to a lot of the same places you went.

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