Haines, Alaska

Aug 20, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird

We spent today in and around the charming town of Haines, Alaska. National Geographic Sea Bird anchored in the harbor and expedition landing crafts shuttled guests to shore all day. There were many options for activities, making this a sort of “choose your own adventure” experience. We could float down the Chilkat River in rafts, hike Mount Riley, take a bicycle tour to Chilkoot Lake, go fly-fishing, go on a flightseeing tour, or walk around town. Each guest ended up doing at least two of these fun activities.

The hike up Mount Riley lasted all morning. It was almost a six-mile round-trip jaunt, through a beautiful temperate rain forest. Hikers saw interesting mushrooms and plants along the trail and were rewarded with a spectacular 360-degree view from the top.

For those who chose to float down the Chilkat River, there was a scenic bus ride from the dock to the native heritage site of Klukwan. Tlingit people have lived along the banks of the Chilkat for thousands of years. Tlingit dancers and storytellers gave us some insight into their rich culture before we boarded rafts and had a peaceful float down the wide but shallow glacial river.

The bike tour was a pleasant ride along the road to Chilkoot Lake. The weather was sunny and mild—perfect for getting some exercise while enjoying the scenery. The weather was also excellent for flightseeing. Those who chose the latter were amazed by the views of Glacier Bay. For some, this was not only a highlight of the trip but also one of the most amazing things they’d ever done.

Haines itself was a great place to walk around. Many of us stopped by the surprisingly interesting and charming Hammer Museum. Some finished their day with a cold drink at the Chilkoot Distillery.

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About the Author

Ivan Phillipsen


Ivan is a passionate naturalist with a background in scientific research. He has participated in studies of a diverse assortment of organisms: aspen trees, cactus wrens, aquatic snails, frogs, and beetles. He holds a M.S. in biology from Cal State San Bernardino and a Ph.D. in zoology from Oregon State University. The population genetics of freshwater animals was his area of focus. He has published a series of papers on the evolutionary biology of amphibians and aquatic insects. Ivan’s scientific work invariably involved backpacking into remote wilderness areas to find his secretive research subjects in their natural habitats.

About the Videographer

Ashley Karitis

Video Chronicler

Ashley was raised in the foothills of the Cascade Range in Central Oregon. After childhood careers in ski racing, equestrian sports, classical piano, and summer jobs on a dude ranch, she emerged as a unique hybrid of adventuress, hobby farmer, and storyteller. 

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