By the time we reached Kluane National Park in Yukon, it was late September. All the trees already lost their leaves, the weather was sunny and dry, and the snow had not come yet. Compare to the moody and rainy Kluane we saw on the way up, it was a little anti-climactic. Once we passed Haines Junction, the scenery got better by the mile. First encounter was the Kathleen Lake Campground (part of the Kluane National Park). It had the best cooking shelter (in day use area) we have come across in the entire Alaska road trip - big window overlooking mountain and lake, wood stoves for cooking and heating, completely enclosed with good ventilation. We saw a smart backpacker sneaked inside the cooking shelter late in the evening and spent a dry warm night inside. Further down south, Dezadeash Lake Campground had a perfect location by the lake surrounded by mountains in fall colors. However, we could not stay here because the cold wind kept giving us teary eyes.
Chilkat Pass in British Columbia, was the highest point on this stretch of the Haines Highway. It started to snow slightly. There were lakes with ducks and swans dotted both sides of the highway. Once we crossed over to the US side, we started to look out for the bald eagles. The closer we get to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, the more we saw. At one point, we spotted five little white heads on a tree across the river. We spent so much time on the way to Haines, we only had a few hours to spare before we boarded the ferry to Bellingham.
We were unable to secure a cabin on the boat. So the game plan was to find a row of lounge chairs where we could lie down across the seats. If that failed, we were going to camp on the deck by the Solarium. Luckily, we got the row of chairs we wanted with our own table and electrical outlets. However, the internet access was slow and sporadic at best. We left Haines on Monday night, and disembarked in Bellingham Friday morning. There were many stops along the Inside Passage where passengers could get off the ferry to stretch their legs; or even stayed for a few days until the next ferry came by. It was especially rewarding to wake up early to see sunrise and to watch the boat navigate through heavy morning fog. Of course, be always on the look out for harbor porpoises, orcas, and humpbacks.