Saturday, July 21, 1973
On this day we drove back into Alaska for the last time, not north or west, but south from Yukon Territory into the panhandle.
It was still wet, but at least we were off the gravel for the last time. Although, as my diary says, “the pavement was worse than the gravel.” I’m presuming because of more permafrost heaves. One thing about the Alaska Highway, it was very well maintained. Which basically meant that they were maintaining it all the time. Or so it seemed, mainly because there’s only a window of a few months in the summertime when they can maintain it. The rest of the time it’s covered with snow and frozen solid. The roads in Yellowstone National Park have the same problem, with the road construction and tourist seasons being almost identical.
Haines was where we caught the ferry south, but it wouldn’t be our turn to sail south until the 24th, so we spent three nights in Haines.
We spent our first afternoon there at a performance of the Chilkat Dancers, a group of Tlingit native children (my diary says the youngest was about eight or nine, and the oldest about nineteen — I don’t know if I was guessing or if I was told that or read it in a program). They don’t appear to have a website — I hope the organization still puts on performances.
I remember enjoying both performances that I saw. And being quite amazed at the beautiful costumes and the talent being displayed. And the stories that were told. There was a Northern Exposure episode one year, that told the Winter Solstice story from the Native American point of view, that also featured a performance like these. I liked Northern Exposure just on general principles, but also because the writers did things like that.