Sunday, 5 October 2014

Haines by the Lynn Canal, a small border town in Indian Alaska

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
Population:  ~2000

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.

'Main street' slopes downwards to the port, in the inlet waters of the Lynn canal.

The Lighthouse Restaurant occupies the old fishing port's building.

The 'Fogcutter bar' and the 'Rusty Compass' coffeehouse, on Main Street.

The Bear Den, Gifts and Bakery.

On Main Street near the boat harbor, Bear Den is a large store with Alaskan gifts - carvings, hats, clothing and food products.

The prize-winner library, a touch of modern culture in Haines.

The Hammer Museum

A local curiosity, maybe unique in the world !

Hammers can be surprising.

Glass hammers to break sugar cubes :)

Haines has a few art galleries, displaying traditional Indian crafts as well as local resident artists; this one is unmissable:

The Seawolf Gallery

Tresham Gregg displays his works at 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.

Haines started as a small fishing village. Presently the small harbour is mainly recreational, but fishing remains an important part of the local economy.

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.

Served by a fast ferry from Skagway, Fort Seward community is now part of Haines.

From the ferry pier, you access the town amidst flower vases.

William H. Seward was the U.S. Secretary of State who negotiated the purchase of the Alaska territory from Russia in 1867.

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.

This community loves flowers !

A Gift shop for tourist offers local crafts.

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.

Definitively an Alpine view.

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.

Lynn Channel is often under fog or stormy gales.

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.