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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Bears and Haines, Alaska: September 3-6, 2017

Sunday, September 3, driving off the ferry at Haines, we turned right in the direction of the Chilkoot River and Lake instead of left toward Haines. The weather was good and within minutes a bear walked across the road to the river. Here there is no elevated boardwalk to enforce a protective distance from the bears. We're on our honor to stay 100 yards from any bear. Fisherman are supposed to cut their lines and leave the river at first sign of a bear approaching.

In Hyder I used the boardwalk railing to steady my camera. Since I cannot hold my long lens steady without support we walked down to the rocks near the river passing small piles of masticated fish and bear poop. I climbed a large rock and used my arms on the rock to steady the camera. The bear fished and frolicked for quite a long time allowing us to get some photos. Occasionally, the bear stopped her frolicking and disconcertingly, looked in our direction. I kept looking behind me to make sure she wasn’t joined by sister bears. After about 30 minutes she moved into an area farther upstream and out of the range of my rock.

She's looking at me again
While we were hanging out on the big rock, the other photographers stayed on the roadside and took photos over the bushes.

When I say “long lens” my lens is a 300mm f/4 with a 2x teleconverter giving me a 600mm f/8 result. That means I need good light to keep my ISO as low as possible and still allow me a shutter speed of 800 to 1000. A photographer that we also saw at the bear observation site in Hyder (he spent 2 months there) is using a Nikon D4 with a 600mm lens with a 1.7 teleconverter giving him 1000mm of lens. While I have to crop my photo to get more than a speck of bear, his lens set up allows him to have a bear portrait. His photos are amazing. When we arrived at riverside, he had his camera and sturdy tripod turned up toward an eagle nest across the river. There were two almost fledged eaglets. One eaglet was sitting on the edge of the nest while the other was out on a limb. When we returned later in the afternoon, the eaglets had flown and the nest was empty.

Monday, September 4, we woke to steady rain. It seemed like a good museum/laundry day. We spent several hours inside at The American Bald Eagle Foundation Museum. We took photos of the two resident female eagles (Vega and Arden) who have wing injuries that they will never recover from so they are permanent residents. Vega is 20 years old and Arden is 6 years old. Arden still has some dark feathers behind her eyes indicating that she is still not fully mature.

Despite the constant rain, we did return to Chilkoot River and Lake to try our luck. It was miserable so we quickly gave up.

Fisherman at Chilkoot Lake

Tuesday, September 5, our view was completely fogged in this morning until the sun warmed the air. Soon the fog morphed into a magnificently dramatic cloudscape followed by a cloudless sunny day.

At Chilkoot River the bears were asleep or hidden by the fog. We went back to town to explore.

Late afternoon at Chilkoot River we saw another bear. Unfortunately, he/she was on the far bank of the river constantly moving upstream. Still very fun to watch.

Chilkoot Lake
On the way back to town, we watched the sky change color as apparition-like wisps of clouds floated above the sea. 

Strangely, a Princess cruise ship was in port. It’s Tuesday and Haines normally gets its one cruise ship on Wednesdays. While Skagway has lots of shopping, walks, and nature for cruise visitors, Haines has nature and dramatic scenery to entertain its visitors. In Haines there are few shops and open restaurants are also few as it is the end of the season here. Most restaurants will be closed by week’s end. 

The cruise ship was in Haines today because Skagway's port was closed due to a landslide early this morning. It is the second one in the last two weeks. The Star Princess was diverted to Haines. We heard it's horn early this morning but thought it was a fog horn. Tonight at dinner I heard the horn again as the shipped pulled away. This is the view from the cottage we're staying in.

Tomorrow we are on the road again this time headed for Tok, Alaska.

Favorite restaurants:
The Pilotlight Restaurant and Fireweed Restaurant - both open seasonally