There are 17.35 hours of daylight according to the local radio station here in Haines.
We woke up next to the Chilkat Inlet (river) just north of Haines. This trip is providing some amazing views to wake up to.
Steve went to open the overhead carrier to get clothes out, but I asked him to wait until we got to town because I needed things as well and just wanted to hurry into town to get ready. I guess he forgot. I drove off and I start noticing something flapping in the back window. The car behind me was swerving randomly.
Our had been clothes were flying out of the cartop carrier for about half a mile.
After gathering our things, we headed into town and visited the visitor center. Met some interesting people in there including a guy who used to be a state patroller in a special division. He flew planes on the ice fields of the Alaskan islands near Russia and homesteaded areas deep in the interior. He told me of some people he had met in those places- dangerous people who lived in those far-flung areas to be away from the law.
We then headed over to Chilkoot state Park to have lunch and saw a group congregated around a bend in the road near the river. Two grizzly cubs were playing in a yard with the mom a little ways off, catching fish in the river. Wow.
Another surprise sighting- Steve’s high school’s assistant principal from Ohio. In the middle of a back road state park in the middle of a town less than the size of my high school population.
Crazy small world.
Met the guys at Alaska Mountain Guides – they guide backcountry skiing in Alta! So we’re going to hang out after this trip is over because they’ll be in Utah at that point (November).
We hung out at the state park for a while, just people watching and checking out the local fishermen cleaning the salmon they had just caught.
Headed to the other side of the peninsula to Portage Cove state park. Spectacular! The sun was starting to go down; the light reflecting off the inlet was brilliant. It was a sharp contrast to the dark jagged peaks that rose from the lake. Tucked between these peaks were massively thick glaciers. A waterfalls were dropping from the edges about 400 feet to the ocean below.
The thing I’ve noticed here is how simply people are living. I mean, on the one hand, fishing villages in our day are rarely known to be rich, so this might be just because the people don’t have the income to live in more complex ways, but what I’ve noticed is that most people we’ve talked to seem content here. I look at their homes as I travel around the different areas and see so many makeshift and unfinished homes. I see houses constructed of plywood with tin roofs next to a one-room cabin with nothing but a canoe out front. Next door there will be a modest home with a garden using up the entire lot. It almost seems as thought these homes grew organically. As space was needed, it was tacked on.
It made me wonder what I need. I’ve been living from a car for the past month and really haven’t missed much.
I’d like to give living small in a makeshift house a try for a year, especially if I can do it in a place like Alaska. It’s so beautiful and I feel having a community of people around you who live similarly would make it more acceptable. I’d like to give that project a go in the next five years.