Posts Tagged ‘Haines’

Thru Yukon to Tok, Alaska June 30, 2009

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

We left Haines on June 28 and drove up the scenic Haines Highway past the famous Chilkat Eagle Preserve, through  Canadian Customs into British Columbia and into Yukon. We stopped at Million Dollar Falls and campground but decided to move on to Kathleen Lake Campground as recommended to us.

Kathleen Lake is a mountain Lake with pretty glacier water and beautiful mountains rising right up out of the lake on most points. We paddled down most of the lake the next morning when the clouds covered the tops of the mountains. We were going into the wind with moderately rough waves. We turned around after we had had enough tough paddling.

We broke camp and headed to Haines Junction where we bought food and filled the gas tank. It was a smaller village than we anticipated. One store for food. There were a few restaurants, gas stations and gift shops. Haines Junctions is where Alaskan Highway meets the Haines highway.

We headed up the Alaskan Highway to Tok. We finally found a road that wasn’t quite 1st class.
There were many parts that were being constructed. Everywhere you had to be on the lookout for bumps in the road and poor road surfaces.

We stopped at Cottonwood RV Park near Destruction Bay on Kulane Lake, which is the largest lake in Yukon Province. This was an outstanding campground. The owners were real friendly and caring people. The facilities were immaculate. This was a one night stand place in that there is no reason to stop there except as a place to stay while passing through. They asked you to take your garbage with you when you leave. There were rest areas along the way where you could deposit your garbage. The campground was right on the lake. The views of the mountains were majestic. Overnight, it rained while the mountains could some fresh snow. The owner told us they clear out of there the 1st week in September.

In the morning, we headed for Tok, Alaska – a drive of about 200 miles. On the way we stopped for  a 2 mile hike to Hidden Lake in a wildlife refuge and a hike down to a trapper’s cabin at the ranger station. There was a brown bear in the area so the park ranger gave us pepper spray to use in case we ran across the bear!

We got the Tok Sourdough RV Campground late in the afternoon. This is a relatively fameous full service campground. They serve an all you can eat pancake and reindeer sauage breakfast for $12. When you check in, you can do a pancake toss. If you can get one of the two pancakes in the bucket, breakfast is on them! 

We finally met the bugs in droves at Kathleen Lake. After set up, we hunted down the flies inside for a while until we got them all.

The Wifi is monitored up here to disallow uploading/downloading large files such as Photo’s. You can Skype either.

We postponed the posting of the above pictures pic’s until we got to Valdez. We went to primitive campground in Wrangell-St Elias National Park for 3 days without any Internet at all.

Our car and trailer are now brown with dirt. We are headed for an Alaskan Car Wash to get all the junk off.

Haines – Kayak Paddles 6/27-28/2009

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

On Saturday, we went about 7 miles on the other side of Haines to Chilkoot State Park to paddle of the mountain lake there by the same name.  The scenary very beautiful. The campground there was excellent. There were a few sites on the water. They did seem to have a lot of bugs there. It was rustic camping similar to were we stayed in Chilkat.

After our paddle we attended Sacred Heart Church for Saturday evening Mass. The OMI Priest there remembered Fr Ron. He said he liked him a lot.

Here are the pictures we took on this paddle and on the drive there:

 Best Kayaking of the year!

On Sunday morning, we put our kayaks into Chilkat Inlet from the boat ramp right at the campground. We went into the bay and around the island. We spent about two hours on this wonderful paddle. It was unbelievable. We passed two Glaciers. We saw several porpoises and a seal, who really checked us out. We got a picture of one of the porpoises but not the seal.

Here are the pictures taken during the paddle:

Haines and “The Glacier Priest” 6/25-26/2009

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

The weather on the ferry from Juneau to Haines and our first day in Haines was damp and somewhat rainy. The view on entering Haines was spectacular. It seems the scenery keeps getting better and better. We don’t have many pictures yet due to weather and us forgetting the camera at various times.

When we got on the ferry, we took a tour of all the decks since we hadn’t been on this particular ferry before. We noticed a sign near purser’s office saying that satellite Internet wasn’t available as of 1/1/2009 since they were changing vendors. When we passed a room set up with cubicles for laptops with electric plugs, we noticed a woman sitting in one and went to ask here if she had Internet access. Then, we noticed she had a sowing machine and was making quilted squares. We started a conversation. About 15 minutes later, Fred mentioned that his uncle was a priest in Alaska and had a street ministry in Juneau. “There is no street ministry in Juneau, What was his name?”, When Fred told her his name, she exclaimed, “You have to be kidding, you are Fr. Ron Dunfey’s nephew!”. She went on the tell us that she was a good friend of Ron’s and that everyone on the Yukon knew Ron.

She went on to relate a number of stories of expereinces she had with Fr. Ron. She told us of common friends they had in Ruby. It seems she also stayed with the same friends on Douglas Island as Ron did when they were both in Juneau. She lived on Kodiak Island. She told us she understood why Ron would use the term street ministry to describe what he did.

We talked about land that Fr Ron had bought and where it might be. Fred mentioned to her that he was thinking of going to Ruby (a remote villiage on the Yukon). She told us that there were no places to stay there and we would have to stay in a tent. She told us of Ron’s friend Edna who resides in Ruby.

This woman is Kristine Harder and she designs and sells pewter. Her Website is

We exchanged email address. Kristine has plenty of photo’s on Ron which she plans to share with us.

She gave us the name of another man who knew Ron and lives in Haines, John Svenson. John Swenson has a design studio called “Extreme Dreams Gallery”.

kristine was not aware of Fr. Ron’s death 12 years ago. She also did not know that Fr. Ron was interviewed by Charles Karault on nationwide news on Mount McKinley (Denaili). I told her I had the video of that interview, parts of which were replayed on Saturday TV mornings under the title “Serenity”.

We got to Haines on the Ferry at 9:30 PM. We decided to go to Chilkat State Park about 8 miles south of town on the Chilkat Inlet.

When we got up in the morning, we located the Extreme Dreams Gallery advertisement in the Haines Vistor Guide. It turns our his studio is located at the entrance to the State Park in which we were staying.

When we showed up and introduced ourselves to John Svenson. He was shocked. He hadn’t met anyone in years who knew of Fr Ron and that past gone era.

He told us that Fr. Ron was known as “The Glacier Priest!”

It seems he was a legend. Mountain Hikers and climbing expeditions sought him out to bless them before their hikes.
All the mountain hikers knew him. He was a fixture in Telketna and other spots around Denali where hikers gathered. He often bought rounds of beer. It seems that Ron liked the company of these mountain climbers and they enjoyed his company. John told us that it was so odd for a Priest to be in such places. The subjects of religion and philosophy were often discussed with Fr. Ron always telling them what he really thought.

After meeting John, Milly just said to Fred, “Maybe Uncle Ron’s spirit is guiding us on this trip.”
According to John, we are camped in the best campground in  Haines. It  just happened to be  right next to Jim Seversons studio and we didn’t know it until we went to find him!

It seems that our Uncle Ron was the character that we knew. He was true to himself and the stories he told did reflect what he did. He was a faithful Christian servant of God. Some people loved him and some despised him.  He didn’t like authorities especially religious ones. It appears he made his mark in Alaska. He truly was an eccentric Alaskans eccentric.

We almost blew up or got asphyxiated

To reach our Chilkat State park and campground, we had to travel on a rough gravel road, down a steep winding grade. The road was a washboard. Unknown to us, our coleman grill was put away in rear storage compartment under our bed with the propane canister still attached.

When we set up, everything seemed okay. Our electric hitch was working off the trailer battery. We noticed a slight smell but assumed it was from residue grey water that had overflowed into the bathroom tub the prior day – Fred forgot to pull the grey water lever to have it empty into sewer drain and the grey water tank filled up. Then, we noticed that the lights didn’t turn on inside the trailer.

Fred checked for a blown fuse inside the trailer.All fuses looked okay. He went to the outside storage compartment to check the battery fuse. When he opened the door, you could hear noises like something was running. Fred realized the noise was propone gas coming from the grill. He pulled the grill out and turned off the gas. The grill had been jostled coming down to the campground and the gas was turned on.

After we oppned the windows for a while, the lights went on and we noticed the carbon monoxide/Propane alarm was blinking. The alarm must have shut the electricity off.

Close calls and learning experiences. We are still having them. Lesson: Don’t do stupid things!

 On inside passage,  if you want fresh vegetables, know when the barge comes in. In Haines,  the “Food barge from Seattle arrives each Tuesday”.

Here are pictures taken in our campground in Haines when the weather wasn’t very good.