this summer (that is the mine next door to the Gold Rush Alaska mining operation). Parker is the 16 yr old grandson of John Schnabel, who is retiring at age 91. It is pretty unique for such a young man to run such a successful Gold Mine, and he is allowing Rainbow Glacier Adventures to bring tours out to his mine for some panning. He has a big summer ahead of him. I know he will do great!
On to Haines happenings....our new (and very controversial) $2 million dollar Cruise Ship Restrooms and Parking Lot is still under construction. The crew is working like mad men to get it done because our first cruise ship to Haines will be here next Wednesday, May 25th. I don't think they are going to make it, but, they have picked up the pace so it may be done before the season is over. hahaha just kidding....mid season at the latest.
On Tuesday I got the privilege of flying over to Skagway with Drake, in what we endearingly call "a puddle jumper". That is like going on a tour itself. The views of Haines and the Lynn Canal are amazing from the air. It didn't hurt to have some very knowledgeable guides on board who could point out the flow and pattern of the Glaciers in the area.
When we returned to Haines I went on our "Guide's Choice" Photography Tour with Tom Ganner as the guide.
That is how I get to train to become a tour guide. I go along with all the tours till I become as knowledgeable and funny as they are. Poor me, eh? My "hard job" is to hang around super cool people while seeing and learning about Haines Alaska. It will be pretty hard to become as good as Tom though. He has a great gift for guiding people. Maybe he learned it from all his years as a Science Teacher in middle school. His easy going style helps the guests relax and breathe in the beauty of Haines. He has an intimate knowledge of Haines since he has lived here over 10 years.
Tom also took us on the fish weir, which crosses over Chilkoot River, where the Salmon get counted during the summer runs. I have never been on it before....it is always locked up, but good ole Tom took us right out in the middle. Very cool - it is too bad the fish weren't running, I would love that. That is when the fish weir is covered in bears though .... probably another reason why they lock it up.
We ate lunch (included in the tour) from Chilkat Bakery on a bench overlooking the spectacular Chilkoot Lake. It was an excellent day listening to Tom's great stories and learning to take superb pictures! Tom even has a bit of "Bird Whisperer" in him as he got a Stellar Jay to pose for photos.
After accompanying Tom Ganner on the tour, I am seriously considering upgrading my camera so I can learn to get the "money shots". You can see some of Tom's work on
Rainbow Glacier Adventure's Facebook Page
Check out the TOUR PICTURES Photo Album for some excellent wildlife shots; such as an eagle flying in front of a brown bear and her cub, and a brown bear and a raven. It is easy to see why he has been contacted by National Geographic recently. I'm gonna have to get his autograph now before he becomes known as the superstar photographer that he is.
Learn more about Tom Ganner at www.majorproduction.net
Learn more about Rainbow Glacier Adventures at www.tourhaines.com
As a side note for Gold Rush Fans. Jim's daughter, who came out and visited while we checked out the rocks, works with the Gold Rush Alaska film crew. She went to Film School herself.