Haines, Alaska

Jun 13, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird

Wow, what a great day! We woke up anchored off Haines, a town of 2,300 people near the top of the Lynn Canal. This marks the northernmost point of our journey through Southeast Alaska. Guests headed out for a wide variety of activities during the day, with some journeying into the local streams to go fly-fishing while others explored town on their own. Haines is a cute coastal community connected to the rest of the state by road (unlike most Southeast Alaska towns) and has museums, galleries, breweries, and one of the best small-town libraries in the country. Several folks trekked to the top of Mount Riley for spectacular views of the surrounding area while a team of bicyclists peddled down the road. 

During the afternoon, many guests hopped onto a bus to visit the ancient Tlingit village of Klukwan. We were hosted by Tlingit dancers at a longhouse with beautifully-carved poles and a background of carved screens. Tlingit art showcases formline design, the two-dimensional pattern common to art in the coastal Northwest, and often tells stories or displays clans and crests. The dancers wore beautiful regalia made of mountain goat wool, sea lion whiskers, and goat hooves. They performed a variety of dances with singing and drums. We also saw a canoe made in the traditional fashion, a smokehouse filled with drying fish, and wandered through a museum. One of the most interesting parts of the museum was a screen and set of longhouse poles that were carved 250 years ago. 

Following the museum, we hopped into rafts and floated down the Chilkat river through the bald eagle preserve. The water was a steel gray from abundant glacial silt. We drifted past gravel bars with circling arctic terns and spotted many eagle nests in the cottonwood trees. In the early evening, we returned to the ship to share stories of our day's adventures. The day ended with the ever-popular crab feast, dessert, and a geology lecture.

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About the Author

Emily Mount

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Emily grew up in Boulder, Colorado and Pullman, Washington. Her love of nature began as a child during family vacations spent hiking, camping and exploring the mountains and deserts of the west. In contrast to her outdoors interests, Emily pursued an intensive young career as a classical violinist, culminating in degrees in history and music performance at the University of Washington.

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