Still awestruck after our incredible “Golden Circle” trip around Southeast Alaska. For those of you unfamiliar with the itinerary, it goes like this:

a. Get to Juneau. In our case, we flew Alaska Airlines from Anchorage.

b. Rent a car. We opted for a RAV4 from Avis–it had a little bit of clearance and AWD. There was fresh snow on the roads–so we wanted to stack the odds in our favor.

c. Take the Alaska Marine Highway up to Skagway. Wow. We took the fast ferry Fairweather. Instead of the normal six-hour ride, we were there in less than three hours. As the sun rose over Auke Bay–the light played some great tricks over the mountains, the fall colors and the clouds.

d. Drive through Skagway up the White Pass into Whitehorse. This is a great drive. Great scenery as you climb up from the valley floor. Check out our photo album.

e. Stay in Whitehorse. We stayed at the Westmark–but there are other places. The folks in Whitehorse are very hospitable! We were there for a conference (ATIA convention), so we didn’t get out very much.

f. Head up the Alaska Highway to Haines Junction. Then, turn left and drive to Haines. This is one of the most scenic parts of the trip. Driving up across the Haines Summit–there were white peaks, blue water and crystal-clear skies. Awesome.

Haines is a fun town. We stayed at the Alaska Guardhouse B-n-B. Very comfy. Haines sits on a strip of land between two distinct bodies of water: Lynn Canal and the Chilkat River Delta. Keep an eye out for eagles and bears.

A highlight for me was visiting with fellow columnist Heather Lende. She showed us around the library, the newspaper office and then drove us out to a couple of scenic vistas. A real Haines evangelist!!  Read her latest book: Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs.

After spending the night in Haines, we grabbed an espresso at the Mountain Market, then headed back to Juneau on the Fairweather.

GREAT FUN! I recommend it. Read my articles about the trip in the Alaska Dispatch (part ONE and part TWO). Check out the photo albums (one, two and three) on Facebook.