Published: July 13th 2012July 12th 2012
DAY 15: THURSDAY, JULY 15: UNBELIEVABLE!!! That is the only way to describe our day in Haines today. It started out nice and slow for once. Everyone got a little extra sleep, did some laundry, updated the blog and just enjoyed a peaceful morning at our camper. Aaron was able to get the hitch on the 5 th wheel all fixed up so we can avoid any unnecessary disasters down the road. The kids had a blast searching for more things in water. The tide was way out so there was an incredible amount of land for searching...if you can believe Hanna got her wish...she found not one, but two little starfish. She hated to do it, but she let them dry up so she can keep them all to herself. A few years ago she combed the shores in the Florida Keys and couldn't find one stinking starfish, so who would have thought she'd find two up in cold Alaska. Go Hanna! Maggie and I walked into town and looked around some gift shops and went to the visitor center. They are having an all campground guests crab boil potluck tonight and Joyce, the owner, invited us out onto the
Porcupine Creek Mine
Here we are meeting and getting our picture with the one and only Dakota Fred!!
docks to watch them select the crabs. They set crab pots out in the canal last night and then boil up the dungeness crabs fresh from the sea for dinner. Only $6.00 a crab. They kids sure enjoyed watching them select the live crabs and they even got to see how they clean them. Slice them open right on the dock, throw some shell back in the water, hose them down and cook them up later.
After that "only in Alaska" experience we headed down the Haines Highway for some sight seeing. On our drive we went thru a bald eagle preserve. Right now there aren't many there, in fact we didn't see a single one, but in the winter there are 3-4,000 of them that live there to feed on the salmon because the water doesn't freeze. We saw a picture of it and it was quite a sight. Further on down the road we veered off into the Klukwan Indian Reserve, population 109. Interesting. Certainly a road that could have been featured on Alaska State Troopers at one time or another.
So now for the real exciting part of the day. I am not sure even
Driving on set to the mine.
Once we passed the "no trespassing " signs we came in the back way to the mine...this was our first view.
how to put into words what fun we had next. We saw on a brochure that you can take a bus tour to the Porcupine Creek Mine. In case you are unfamiliar with it, that is where they film the show Gold Rush. Now we watch it every Friday night and love it...so as soon as we saw this we decided we were going to try find it on our own. So, with my Milepost book, in hand we hit the road. At Mile 26 there it was, the turn off to Porcupine Creek. Amazing...we immediately recognized the bridge from the show. Back we drove, 9 miles into the woods following the Dalton Trail, the same trail prospectors traveled back in the 1890's. We came across an old guy cutting wood and actually started freaking out because he had a dog and we thought it was blue. Aaron got out and got the low down, Yes Dakota Fred is right up the road. So we kept going and sure enough we came to a "Y" in the road-Porcupine Creek to the right and Big Nugget Mine to the left. We headed right, crossed another bridge from the show, ignored the
Brett at the shoreline in front of our campsite.
Look close and you'll see a cruise ship heading out to sea in the background.
no trespassing signs and came in the back way, right on the set of the mine. Right there in from of us stood Dakota Fred. We all seriously freaked out, and before you know it Aaron gets out, goes right up to him and says, "Hey Dakota Fred, you wouldn't say no to having your picture taken with a cute family that drove all the way from Michigan?". What happened next was amazing, he said sure, and the next thing we knew we were all shaking his hand and we got many pictures with him. After chit chatting with him for a while, he gave us the low down on the upcoming season. Big things coming people! He implied there might be someone new mining over at Big Nugget and he also gave us the clear impression he is getting the gold. His son, Dustin, was panning just out of view. He gave us a bag of tailings from the actual Porcupine Mine...might have gold in that there bag! In awe and shock of what we just did, it wasn't enough, so we headed over to Big Nugget Mine in hopes of seeing the Schnabels. Wow, right there was the
Crab Boil Feast
Brett is getting a lesson from Joyce, the campground owner, on how to crack a crab.
office that you see on the show all time. We stopped, Aaron left us and walked back to the mine. CRAZY!! Well, we got permission drom a worker to drive back there and are sure we saw Parker go into a gravel pit when we pulled in. We were told to wait for the que that he might let us get our picture with him. However, some dude who said he was head of security, but looked like camera crew, told us Parker wasn't on site and we had to leave. Aaron tried some smooth talking but no luck here. It was alright though, because while we waited we totally got to watch the miners working. The whole mine was going and we got some really cool pictures before leaving. Just unbelievable that we just did that. Again, "only in Alaska."
Back at the campground we told everyone what we just did and settled in for our fresh dungeness crab feast..YUM-O!! Joyce gave us a great lesson on how to crack and eat a crab. It was so delicious and fresh and we ate so much. What a really fun time eall the guests had...really made us glad we
On the ferry.
This is how crazy the truck and camper looked once Aaron maneuvered it onto that ferry.
stayed here. We settled in and built a fire, the kids dug worms for fishing, watched bald eagles circle the water right above us, a Disney Cruise ship passed by heading out to sea...ONLY IN HAINES ALASKA!!!!
Total Mileage: Maybe 40 miles
Plate Quest: TX, IL
Wildlife Report: more bald eagles, dungeness crabs, starfish
Alaskan Celebrities: Dakota Fred
Ridiculous: Just the thought that Aaron actually drove us back to those mines and was bold enough to get out and talk to Dakota Fred.
There are more photos below