After the amazing drive down the Haines Highway, we arrived in Haines, Alaska and were greeted by hundreds of bald eagles (America!). From there we drove into town and got to work finding a place to stay. We walked around the cute little town and enjoyed the sites before getting directed to a local park area to camp out. For the next few days we enjoyed exploring the town and surrounding areas. We walked around town, took some scenic drives, visited the brewery and distillery, checked out Fort Seward, hiked the surrounding forest, and partook in Halloween festivities! There was a natural water source just outside of town where we filled our tank with some fresh tasting mountain spring water too. All in all, we really enjoyed Haines and wished we had more time there!
From Haines we decided to start heading South as we had enough of the cold. We booked a ferry that would get us from Haines to Prince Rupert where we would drive the rest of the way to Oregon. Due to the “winter schedule” for the Alaska Marine Highway, we had limited options on where we could go and how long we could stay there. After much thought, we ended planing for layovers in Juneau and Ketchikan.
Juneau was a quick stop, about 36 hours. On the ferry ride from Haines to Juneau we got some live music out in the Solarium, and met some good people along the way. It was interesting how many people use the ferry system for things like going to the doctor or to buy a set of tires. We are so used to being able to access these things easily, but when you live in a small town with limited road access – the ferry system is where it’s at! Anyway, we enjoyed the ride and got into Juneau pretty late. The next day we did an extreme tourism day… We hiked the Perseverance Trail, drove out to Point Bridget State Park for a marshy hike, checked out the Mendenhall Glacier, had a yummy lunch aaaaaand did a pub crawl while we watched the Cubs win the world series. Quite the day!
We got on the ferry for a long ride the next day, heading to Ketchikan. The ride was overnight and the whole next day, so we packed snacks/meals, sleeping bags, and activities. We really enjoyed sleeping in the solarium area under the heat lamps – the rocking of the boat was a nice way to doze off and the heat lamps kept us warm even though there was a pretty legit storm out there. In the mornings we snuggled in our sleeping bags, drank coffee, read books, and enjoyed the scenery . We spent the day walking around, stretching, reading books, and being silly.
When we arrived in Ketchikan we started exploring the town and stumbled upon some questionable establishments before finding a cute little sports bar to chill out in. (We usually go to coffee shops, restaurants, or bars in a town to ask where people suggest we park while we are in the area. It has consistently gotten us some pretty sweet places to stay and we get to meet new people.) We stayed in the Marine Discovery Center parking lot for the night before heading out to the Ward Lake area for the next two nights. While we were there, we hiked up to Pavillion Lake one day and did a hike around Ward Lake and up Ward Creek another day. Ketchikan is a rainforest and we were very aware of that while we were visiting – it dumped rain the whole time we were there. We used the day use area one night to have a big fire and on another rainy night we treated ourselves to a movie in the theater! On our last day there we got prepared for another over night ferry ride and to head back into Canada. Paul was stoked to watch some football at the sports bar where we made some friends, ate some good food, and chilled out before getting on the ferry for the last time.
We landed in Prince Rupert, BC at about 4am and started heading home. We initially planned to take about five days getting home. When we realized that we had already driven most of these roads and didn’t have much we wanted to see in that part of BC, we booked it home. The drive ended up taking three days instead, and we got to surprise our families with an early arrival. Our plan is to relax a little in Portland, switch out some gear, clean up Cici, and get ready for the next chapter of our journey.