In Canada, the long weekend in May, known as Victoria Day or sometimes the May Two-Four, is the official start to our short summer season. In the Yukon, like most places around the country, everyone, or almost everyone, goes camping. If you are in Whitehorse on the May long weekend, it is eerily quiet. There is minimal traffic, no lines at the grocery store, and it feels slightly like a ghost town. If you want to camp in the vicinity of Whitehorse, like 20 to 30 minutes away, you have to bring out your camping vehicle or tent and set up the week before. It is getting so cut throat for camping space these days, that if you don’t get your spot early, you aren’t camping.
This year, my little family decided to go to Alaska. We haven’t been since before we had kids, due mostly to the fact that we didn’t have our passports. In the old days, before 9/11, you could go over the border with only a driver’s license. Since then, the US has cracked down and you need a passport now. Getting a passport is a pain, to put it mildly. We were ultimately successful this winter in finally getting the whole family’s passports, so we decided that for the May long weekend, we were going to Skagway, a little less than two hours from Whitehorse. Apparently, things have changed since the last time we were in Skagway for the long weekend, which was about 12 years ago. Now, it is one of the hot spots for Victoria Day. When we got there on Friday night after work, there was nowhere to camp. Talk about bummed!! The kids were sad, I almost cried and we almost decided to go home. Happily, we remembered the ferry! We could go anywhere, almost, on the Alaska Marine Highway! For a price of course! We checked it out and decided it was worth the extra money to make our way to Haines, where hopefully, it would be a little less busy. And it was awesome and on the way home we drove from Haines, so we did this fabulous loop and saved our weekend! Here are some pics! If you ever get up to Alaska, it is worth the trip to get to Haines.
When we got to Haines, we decided to camp in the Chilkoot Lake Campground. What a fabulous spot, and it was half empty! Of course it was; everyone was in Skagway.
We also had the chance to visit the American Bald Eagle Foundation and got to watch them feed the three bald eagles they have in captivity there. It was kind of sad, but all three of the eagles are disabled and would not survive in the wild. It’s also nice that they use them in such an educational forum. They did a great talk about the eagles, and the kids learned a few new things!
Then we drove home through the Haines Summit, stopping at Kathleen Lake for lunch. What a great trip, one I hope we’ll get to do again this summer! (Yes, I may have a small obsession with mountains! Forgive me!)