July 25 – Yep, Stacie saw her moose today, up close and personal. When we had set up our tent we had noticed some tracks in the mud nearby. The campground host had told us that one had been sighted a few days before we arrived, but that he hadn’t seen it personally. Each day we kept a sharp eye out for it, but no luck. Today was our last day in Haines and after breaking down the campsite we hiked a trail near the campground because the moose had been seen near it. The trail was covered in tracks. We met some other hikers on the trail and asked them if they had seen the moose. The said yes, it was in the parking lot when they arrived at the trailhead. They watched it for half an hour and when they finally got out of their cars it just stood there and didn’t run away. Saddened that we’d missed our chance, we continued on the trail until it met the bay where we had kayaked. Instead of continuing on the trail we walked along the beach back to the boat ramp where we had launched the kayaks (it had been seen near there too). We still hadn’t seen it when we reached the ramp, so we walked up the road back to the parking lot. As we turned a corner in the road we noticed that there were two cars stopped in the road and then Dave said, “turn on your camera”. There on the side of the road, grazing contently was one large momma moose with her baby. We watched them for fifteen minutes. They weren’t bothered by us or the cars passing them.
We returned to the truck and headed into town. Our ferry to Petersburg didn’t leave until 9:15 in the evening so we had a few hours to kill. We went by the cannery again to take a few more pictures and buy a few cans with surprises in them as contest prizes (you have remembered to enter haven’t you? The deadline is August 30). While in town we also ran back to Dalton City and the Haines Brewing Co to refill our growler (somehow it was empty). The weather was nice and we considered kayaking, but we knew that we would need to do laundry soon. We only had 2 ½ days in our next city and a lot to do so we didn’t want loose any time to laundry so we spent our afternoon watching clothes (instead of eagles) go ‘round.
After laundry we went to a nearby park and grilled up some dinner. We arrived at the ferry terminal two hours early as required and waited (as required). This ferry crew seemed to have their act together and as soon as the cars were done unloading we started loading. At 9:15, our scheduled departure time, the ships horn blew signaling our departure. However, in true ferry fashion, we didn’t actually depart for another fifteen minutes. This was our third overnight ferry trip and we had learned valuable lessons from our previous experiences – we splurged for a cabin. Other than being awakened just after midnight when the ferry arrived in Juneau we slept well.
July 26 – We arrived in Petersburg at 11:15 am (on time) and we were among the first off the ferry. We headed for the visitors center to get more information. The volunteer was stumped when Stacie asked her, “What are the ‘must see’ sights in Petersburg?” We did learn where the local Petroglyphs are and were able to get some contact information on salmon cannery tours (canning is a big part of the economy here). Whales are often spotted in Fredrick Sound nearby and it was suggested we kayak there or in the Wrangell Narrows. We walked around town which is cute in that many of the storefronts are rosemaled (decorated with rose motifs). Petersburg is known as ‘Little Norway’ as it was originally founded and settled by Norwegian fishermen and canners. The Sons of Norway is a fraternal organization and there are events held regularly in the Sons of Norway hall. They have also built a replica Viking ship which they sail on special occasions. There was one museum in town, the Clausen Memorial Museum. It had early pictures and memorabilia as well as some fishing equipment on display. We stopped by the local cold storage plant which operated a deli where Stacie got some exotic fried seafood for lunch. Dave snacked on her exotic fries. From there we headed out towards the campground, stopping on the way to view a fish ladder. There were some kids there “fishing”, although we don’t think that it’s legal to drop your line into the pools in the ladder and snag fish while they’re resting. Our next stop was Blind River Rapids, a stream full of King salmon that led up to the hatchery (it was also full of fisherman since the State had just opened the stream to fishing). The Salmon hatchery was on the way, but it was closed. A brief stop was required just before reaching the campground because deer were grazing (posing) by the road. We arrived at the campground to find that we were the only ones there. We picked a nice roomy site next to a stream and set up. It was around 4:00 and the weather was OK (it had rained lightly earlier, but was clearing) so we decided to put the kayaks in near the hatchery. We explored the area and saw lots of Merganser ducks training their ducklings on flying (though they weren’t big enough to fly yet). There were salmon fry jumping all around us as well. Stacie enjoyed this paddle as it was in calm water, a welcome change from our last trip. It was dinner time so we headed back to camp.