Saturday, July 2, 2016

Alaska Adventure Part Four - Alaska Marine Highway

This part of our journey in Alaska took us on the Alaska Marine Highway, aka a ferry ride! We caught the M/V Columbia, AMH's largest ferry, out of Skagway to Haines for a one-hour ferry ride. Short ride but the wait to load was much longer. It took three-plus hours for them to unload the vessel upon arriving in Skagway and then load all of the waiting vehicles, mostly RVs. For those familiar with the Washington State ferry system, or other ferries where you drive on and off from the bow and stern, this ferry required us to load from the side. We drove down a ramp onto a concrete dock and then on to another ramp up into the vehicle area where we were squeezed into line on the car deck. That wasn't too bad. Uh-huh. Eek!

Waiting for the Ferry
Loading Dock for the M/V Columbia
Leaving Skagway
Heading to Haines
Cruise Ship Leaving Skagway
We ate dinner in the snack bar area of the boat since we figured it would be after 8 p.m. before we would arrive at our next destination. We had cold sandwiches, chips and a piece of pie. Yup, main course and dessert along with a beverage. If the ride would have been longer, we would have opted to eat in the main dining room, complete with real plates and silverware. And tablecloths to boot!

Upon reaching Haines, the real experience of the ferry ride began. We would have to back up out of the lane we were parked in to get off of the boat! Yikes! Luckily the ferry workers know their stuff. There were about 5 lanes in our area and we were in lane 4 facing the stern. One by one, they emptied the five lanes behind us until it was our turn. Then the worker guided us backwards, telling George which way to turn the steering wheel and when to turn it hard to get the trailer to pivot. We were almost up against the outside wall of the boat with the back of the trailer. Then we were able to pull forward and out the side door of the ferry onto the ramp. Freedom!! It felt good to be out of there because I found the process very nerve wracking and I wasn't even the one driving. Good job, George!

We spent the night at Haines Hitch-up RV park. Very nicely kept, fairly wide grassy sites, and FREE hot showers. Oooh, that felt so good. I liked the town of Haines. It wasn't so tourist-y as Skagway and they had a much nicer grocery store.

The next morning we departed for Haines Junction back in the Yukon. The Haines highway is extremely scenic, especially once you cross back into Canada and are high up in the mountains. We saw one bear and I glimpsed my first cow moose in the trees up near Haines Junction. Mom and George say it doesn't count because they didn't see it. Well, I did so I'm counting it.

Haines Highway View from the Back Seat
See-More on the Haines Highway
Panoramic View
Blurry Bear Pic Proof

We stayed at Pine Lake campground, a Yukon government park. Wow! That was camping. No hookups, but a huge wooded site with the biggest picnic table I have seen. It must have a been a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood with a fresh coat of green enamel paint. We were entertained by the squirrels chasing each other around the trees in our site. Trip sure enjoyed it. Yukon parks provide free firewood so we had a nice little campfire that night. It was a perfect ending to the day.

Our Giant Picnic Table
Nice Campfire
Squirrel Entertainment
More Entertainment

Another good thing of note is the revamped cat carrying area. We bought a piece of cut-to-size lumber in Skagway, and I covered it with non-skid shelf liner. It is working out great! The carriers are more stable and I think the kitties are happier.

Revised Cat Carrier Platform


  1. We stayed at that very RV Park and loved it and loved Haines. Same as you -- so much more real than Skagway. We took the ferry all the way from Bremerton to Anchorage, but we only had the Roadtrek Camper Van, so not such a problem. Meals were amazing.

  2. Getting your rig off the ferry sounds like an adventure in itself.
    Nice pics Sally!


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