Timing is everything
I was hoping to visit the Eagle Foundation and the Hammer Museum, however those places weren't open until June 1st. So if you're wanting to visit those places, as well as the Sheldon Jackson Museum, plan your trip for after the Memorial Day weekend...unless you just want to go for the Beer Festival!!!
Someone in Haines decided to decorate this beautiful little tree along the highway about 20 miles from town. The tree just sits there and shared joy. This reminded me of the movement called Random Acts of Kindness - which can be found on-line. Haines wasn't the only place that I saw decorated Christmas trees out in the middle of nowhere.
Pack Light and Casual
Maximum of two per person both of which will pass the carry-on test. Pack for half the trip. Do laundry if you need to, or better don't take anything you wouldn't wear twice and could combine to make a new outfit. Alaska is most definitely not a fashion show. Layers Layers Layers
Good hiking boots or very comfortable walking shoes with good soles and a waterproof shell are essential. You can even get by without a coat except in the winter. I didn't take a coat and I still found myself shedding layers, even after the first sunstantial fall cold snap and snow on the surrounding mountains. Take a fleece sweatshirt and long underwear and you are ready for anything nature has to offer from May to September. Mosquito repellent, though I did't wear it or need it in september and we spent a fair amount of time in the woods. Meclizine for motion sickness. (Dramamine non-drowsy) makes you a little sleepy, but not hung over. A zoom is really nice for wildlife shots. Binoculars are very useful.
Haines is for Hikers
There are several spectacular hiking trails in the Haines area.
The easiest trail is the Battery Point Trail which starts down the waterfront road past Port Chilkoot dock in Ft. Seward. Though it is classified as easy, it is difficult enough for a good workout. It winds up and down over the low ridges in a dense coastal forest and ends at a rocky promontory on the Lynn Canal with stunning water and mountain views. It is about 1.7 miles in length. Beware of Devil's Club. Stay on the trail.
For a challenge, there is the Mount Riley Trail. This trail has quite a bit of vertical rise to it, but the reward is a sensational view of the entire area. The shortest route and most difficult route is is out the Mud Bay Road on the way to Chilkat State Park. The easiest and longest is from the Battery Point Trail.
On the other side of Haines, Mt. Rapinsky looms above everything. It is the longest and the most difficult. It provides high elevation views of the entire region and a serious elevation gain.
Pick up "Haines is for Hikers" at the vistors center. It will give all the details you need to tackle any of these hikes and a few others. The visitors center will mail it to you. Jeff Butcher at the Hotel Hasingland let me borrow his copy when I forgot my own, and I thank him for that. It is clear an concise with all the information you need about area trails. A layered outfit with long pants hard soled shoes or hiking boots. Rain gear. You may need the extra layers on the waterfront or at high elevations.
Alaska State Fairgrounds
Most people don't go here unless it is fair time. Did you know that there is an entire movie set of an old western town out at the fairgrounds? I believe the set was used for the filming of the movie "White Fang". There are few artsy little shops and the Haines Brewing Company.