Alaska 2008 – Day 8, July 11

Day 8, July 11

Haines AK to Beaver Creek YT

333 miles

Leaving Haines behind, we head back in to Canada. I lost count of how many border crossings we made by the end of the trip. I got very used to answering questions about where we were from, where we were going, and what we were going to do when we got there. It was sort of like being a teenager again and having Mom grill us about our Friday night plans.

The road from Haines to Haines Junction goes through Chilkat Pass, rising from sea level to nearly 3,500′, this amazing road has some of the strangest scenery. Nearing the top of the pass there are hundreds of tiny lakes dotting the rocky landscape. Milky water is gathered in pools surrounded by rusty black rock and dark green scrub. Mist and fog surround us, lifting and dropping at a whim. Huge tour busses roar past us out of the mist. The road is tight and busy, and theres no time for sightseeing.

Harsh weather makes you want to hunker down on a bike and keep moving. It’s different in a car or motorhome. Stopping and getting out every once in awhile makes you more a part of the scenery, gives you some ownership of the beauty around you. On a bike, you’re already part of it, youre surrounded by it and the only way to get through it is to keep going, so you do. Later on you realize, “That place was awesome. I should have stopped.”

So, no pictures and only tiny flashes of memory, and the thought, “We should have stopped.”

After our Border crossing, the road opens up a bit and we did take time to rest and get some photos. Windswept but extremely quiet, this small section of the pass seemed more a part of the clouds than the earth. The cloud cover created a low ceiling that looked so dense I felt I could have reached out and pushed against it and it would have pushed back like clammy white cotton batting. I love my heated liner. There is something about being warm and dry in harsh conditions that just makes me happy.

Tonight’s lodgings are, um, interesting. Beaver Creek is a wide spot in the dusty road, and our ‘room’ is an old mobile home. You can’t step on the first stair going in, it’s rotted through. All this grandeur for $80 a night plus tax (gasp!). Inside is clean, and the bed is surprisingly new and nice, but quaint it ain’t, this place is a dive!

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