2022 Alaska and the Inside Passage – Part 5 – Searching for Coastal Brown Bears in Haines

August 27, 2022 – We spent a week in Haines in our RV back in 2013. It was – and still is – our favorite place in Alaska. What’s not to love? This small town has friendly locals, few tourists, breathtaking scenery, and abundant wildlife.

Our ship was docked with a great view of the small boat harbor, the RV park where we camped in 2013 (in the above image) and historic William H. Seward. The tide was low when we arrived and we could see eagles on the beach.

This tender took us on a five minute ride to the shore.

Our excursion for the day was called the Chilkoot Valley Wildlife Safari. My goal was to see bald eagles and coastal brown bears.

Our transportation for the day was a 24 passenger tour bus driven by our driver and guide Cydnie. She drove up the hill from the dock to take us through historic Fort William H. Seward, a National Historic Landmark. This location was chosen as the site for a fort in 1902 and was the only permanent army fort in Alaska from 1925 to 1940.

Our first stop was a bridge over the Chilcoot River where we had a great view of the river. Sadly there were no bears but we spied a pair of Bald Eagles in a tree.

Our next stop was to see the Chilcoot River fish weir which is used to count the number of salmon swimming up the river. Someone spotted three bears on the weir!

Off we went in the van to get a closer view of these three Coastal Brown Bears. It was a mama bear and her two cubs.

After watching the bears for a while we continued on to Chilcoot State Park where we took in the gorgeous view of Chilcoot Lake and kept a constant lookout for wildlife.

As we passed by the fish weir again on our way to our next destination Cydnie stopped the bus when she saw this bear cub right by the road. I was lucky to the be on the side of the bus where he was and captured a few images of him. When he stood up to show us how big he was it was time to leave. Mama was in the river watching the whole time.

A picnic area next to the Lynn Canal was a perfect place for lunch.

Our tour continued on another highway to the mouth of the Chilcat River where we hoped to see more bald eagles. There were no eagles to be seen and we returned to the ship. By this time the tide had come in and we could walk back to the ship.

Watching the bears in Haines was one of my favorite experiences of the whole cruise. When we got back to the dock there wasn’t enough time left to explore the town. Even so, it was a great day. One day isn’t enough to experience this wonderful coastal town.

If you are interested in seeing more about our 2013 stay in Haines please visit Taking the Alaskan Ferry to Haines or Laid Back in Haines, Alaska or Fresh Crabs for Dinner

Next up – Another wildlife cruise and a crab feast

Day 79: Waterfalls, glaciers and salmon in Valdez

Day 79: Friday, August 2, 2013

I love Valdez. It is a quaint fishing village with about 4500 year round residents. It is not too commercial or touristy and everything here revolves around the water. The harbor is surrounded by mountains and is the northern most harbor in Alaska that doesn’t freeze in the winter. The Alaska pipeline ends in Valdez.

 

On our drive into Valdez we descended a long steep grade on the highway past several glaciers and waterfalls without stopping so we took a drive back up the highway to do a little exploring in Keystone Canyon and at Worthington Glacier.

 

Solomon Gulch Hatchery Fish Weir
This sign explains the Solomon Gulch Hatchery Fish Weir

On the way back into town we took a drive to the other side of the bay to stop by the fish weir next to the hatchery to see if the salmon were spawning. There were fisherman on the banks catching salmon. At the fish weir by the hatchery the water was filled with thousands of fish.

 

We arrived in Valdez during their Gold Rush Days celebration. The Klondike Gold Rush is an important part of Valdez history and the residents celebrate for several days with events  for adults and kids. Friday night was the Wine Walk and start of a street fair. The ladies were all decked out in the 1890’s outfits having way too much fun!

 

If you haven’t looked at them lately, check out the maps of our journey.