The bus ride with Mark to the launching site of the excursion was a lot of fun and had 91 curves in the road. He really personalized the trip as we drove by people’s houses including the Schnabel’s construction yard (Discovery ... Read More
The bus ride with Mark to the launching site of the excursion was a lot of fun and had 91 curves in the road. He really personalized the trip as we drove by people’s houses including the Schnabel’s construction yard (Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush) on the highway out of Haines. Grandpa just had his 94th birthday, so apparently his cancer is under control and he survived chemotherapy. Mark’s stories and descriptions of various buildings and landmarks as we drove up the road really brought home that small town feel. A graduating class of 20, with 14 going on to college, a friend of his has been building a house alongside the road for 5 years now, milk at over $6 per gallon, gas at over $4 per gallon (and they are happy about that compared to a year ago). Everyone loading up their vehicles and trailers, then heading to Juneau on the Alaskan Maritime Highway System for an overnight foraging trip to Costco! 6 months worth of supplies in two trips a year. The personalization made it feel special, like we were just swapping stories.
Javier was our boat captain. 2-150 horsepower outboard jet drives on a flat bottomed, aluminum boat that probably seats around 20 passengers. Once up on plane this thing probably will go through inches of water, and we did hit several sticks, logs and the motors hit stuff as well as we went upstream through the various river channels. We saw two sitting female bald eagles on their nests, a mother moose and calf, and a yearling moose. A bunch of trumpeter swans, some ducks, but no bears – which seeing as how they are nocturnal and no salmon were running, I did not expect anyway.
The entire ecosystem is just absolutely gorgeous. From the overflowing river to the green of the bush, to the flowering wild roses, to the green tips of the Sitka Spruce, everything was vibrant and alive. Hard to believe that only 3 weeks ago there wasn’t hardly any water in the river and no green on the trees.
The eagle nest were pretty cool. Some were larger, older, than others, some were abandoned. The Murches were back this year after two eaglets last year, but Lucy and Ricky had not come back after their failed attempts two years ago. (Yes, they name all their eagles.) The mother moose and calf posed long enough for us all to get some great pictures. The Calf was about 3 weeks old. The yearling was a bit more camera shy, disappearing into the bush quickly as we slid past.
It was a really good and fun excursion. Ally had a blast. She’d never done or seen anything like this before. Never seen an eagle in the wild, or a moose, or rode on a jet boat. Read Less