Yesterday’s cliffhanging post left everyone in a tangle of anticipation! Do we make it to Juneau? And where does one camp on the way to Juneau after one has crossed the border? How do you even get from Haines to Juneau? And why doesn’t America name a major company something awesome like, “Fas Gas?”
I will keep you waiting no longer!
Maple and myself drove about 45 minutes past Haines Junction before pulling into a lookout and catching about 4 hours of sleep. We arrived safely in Haines at about 10 AM the next day.
I love Haines. Love it. I have always felt that if I could live anywhere else in Alaska it would be Haines. Granted, I’ve yet to make it over to the Seward/Homer side of things (and I hear it’s spectacular) but Haines has always struck me just the right way. A tiny town with a teeny tiny airport, a great library (and independent bookstore), tons of local businesses, a thrift store AND a great health food store? Where do you sign me up?
There’s also some great people my age in Haines; doing theatre, having babies and creating community – basically everything I admire. Visit Haines people, it’s a wonderful place.
We also finally took the dogs for a walk (after roughly 24 hours in the car) and they were in hog heaven. Gunnar is still having leg issues so he was confined to a leash, but Snorri got to chew rocks and sticks to her hearts’ content.
Most of the smaller towns in Alaska use the Alaska Marine Highway System to get from place to place. AMHS or ‘the ferry’ as most everyone calls it, is one of my favorite things about Southeast Alaska. While there is currently one ‘Fast Ferry’ in the system all the other ferries are these large, sturdy boats that slowly and reliably get people from place to place.
Though a significant source of frustration for some folks, I’ve always been very partial to the ferry system. In this world where everyone wants to be perpetually connected to multiple technologies ALL THE TIME and where I find myself increasingly more and more connected it’s really relaxing to take 6-36 hours where you’re simply removed from all cellular and wireless connection. You can read, sleep, watch the coast go slowly by, eat some cafeteria food and drink some wretched coffee, play scrabble and just be for the time that the ferry is on the water.
Ferries are also funky. They’ve got names that, as kids, we always had a hard time saying such as Malespina and Matanuska. They’ve got maps all over the place and original artwork from famous Alaskan artists, such as Claire Fejes. They’ve also got large murals of moose and lynx, tons of staircases and tiny, narrow corridors that we used to play in and, as we got older, sneak off to go make out with all our crushes in. It’s not uncommon in the Southeast for school sports teams and clubs to take the ferry from one town to another for competitions. Imagine how much fun it was for our high school chaperones to keep track of 20+ teenagers on the ferry…
After a largely uneventful ferry ride, where we both slept, ate chips and read books, we disembarked in Juneau. As I said in the previous post – the trip was wonderful! I am very lucky indeed that I get to travel between my Fairbanks home (where I’ve chosen my home) and my childhood home (that still welcomes me back).
Cheers and Love,
Maple and Me