There may be more challenging places in Alaska, more rich in History or pioneer exploration. Haines is hardly a candidate for Ultima Thule, so this is just a small report of a civilized place where peace, beauty and nature can be fully enjoyed.
I mean, really breathtaking beauty and nature at its best.
An intermezzo for adventures in more distant lands.
Haines is a small port community in Southeastern Alaska, located on the shores of the Lynn Canal - the state's longest fjord - and surrounded by glorious glacier-covered mountains of the Coast Range.
Coordinates: 59°14′ N, 135°26′ W
The small town of Haines lies where the Chilkat River empties into the waters of upper Lynn Canal.
Haines town center offers two museums, a prize winner library, a coffee shop and a couple of restaurants, and a few galleries.
On Main Street near the boat harbor, Bear Den is a large store with Alaskan gifts - carvings, hats, clothing and food products.
The Hammer Museum
Hammers can be surprising.
Haines has a few art galleries, displaying traditional Indian crafts as well as local resident artists; this one is unmissable:
The Seawolf Gallery
A few old houses remain on upper Main Street, a reminder of the gold rush era:
The grey one in the middle has been recently demolished for hazardous. A garden will take its place.
Cruise ships and the daily fast ferry dock at the Fort Seward pier:
Fort Seward, Heritage site
The community of Fort Seward was built since 1902 around the first Fort in Alaska, on a hill overlooking the waters of the fjord.
From the ferry pier, you access the town amidst flower vases.
Fort Seward was Alaska's first US army fort, built during the gold rush era and during a time when there was tension between the US and Canada over the border.
The buildings were all the same style and the fort was carefully laid out.
The fort was deactivated in 1946 and sold. The new owners called it Port Chilkoot. In 1970, Port Chilkoot merged with Haines into one municipality.
An increasing number of restaurants, lodges, and art galleries are installed in the original buildings; the Fort's hospital, for example, is now the Alaska Indian Arts Center.
The Center makes totem poles, many are to be found in the parade ground area.
Around Haines and the Lynn Canal
1 Letnikov cove, an old salmon Cannery.
Perched up on wooden pilings over blue water with mountains all around, this old cannery is in a beautiful location.
The historic cannery was originally opened in 1917. It is currently in operation and, in addition to the packing plant, has a gift shop open in the summer months.
2 The Eldred Rock lighthouse
In the stormy waters of the Lynn Canal, some miles southways from Haines at 58º N, 135º W, sits a small island surrounded by majestic, snow covered mountains: Eldred Rock.
Eldred Rock island had been the location of multiple maritime incidents. So there was built an octagonal lighthouse in 1906, the last of ten lighthouses constructed in Alaska in the first years of the 20th century.
With light and fog-signal apparatus and keepers' quarters combined in a single structure, the lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.