After Valdez

Why can’t we catch fish here?

Gangsta boys cooking salmon.

On the way to Chitina.

Worthington Glacier.

I held my iPhone camera lens up to the viewing telescope.

Alaska yard art.

Our plan was to drive to McCarthy for the day with just our vehicles.  But we couldn’t find a suitable campground to stay at and leave the trailers the next day so we stopped at this pullout along the highway.  It’s the first time we’ve actually boondocked in Alaska.

It came complete with a firepit and there were fish in that lake.  And best of all, free.

The next morning we were a little uncomfortable about leaving our trailers by the side of the road for the whole day.  We have hitch locks but we came up with this brilliant idea of backing one trailer up to the other figuring that Only the front trailer could be stolen.  Of course, then we realized that if someone could steal the front trailer,  they then could come back and steal the back one.  🙄

 

Don’t know if you can see it but this eagle has a rabbit in his claws.

 

This is Kennecott.  It’s a town of sorts that was built around a copper mine.  When the copper ran out the town died.  Most of it is owned by the National Park Service.  The Root Glacier can be seen on the left. Because it’s a 60-mile drive on mostly gravel, there’s not too many people here.  But it was well worth the drive!

The gravel hills are actually part of the glacier.  The ice is underneath the gravel which is produced when the glacier moves against rock.

The town of McCarthy.  Because of the 60 mile drive there are few tourists here.  There are some residents but not many.  It seemed so much like authentic Alaska!

This used to be the hardware store.

More Alaska yard art.

Alaska bike jump in the foreground.

This trip was out of our way (one way in, one way out) on a long bumpy road, but so worth it.  Now on to Copper Center for a float trip to catch some salmon.  Should be fun!

Valdez

Not only is the road to Valdez beautiful but it has to be one of my favorite towns so far.  It’s on the water, small, not as touristy as others and the surrounding scenery is beautiful.  We stayed in a campground that is steps from the small boat harbor and quaint eaterys.  There is a trailer right in the campground that sells fresh baked cinnamon rolls every morning.  And they are the best we’ve had so far.  But, by no means, is our testing over! We could also walk over and see the boats come in with their catch in the afternoon and we could even walk to the Safeway.

Wish we could say these were our fish.

We drove out to the Valdez Glacier.  Our plan was to get our inflatable kayaks out and paddle around the icebergs.  But the weather has not cooperated. I’ve seen pictures of this during a sunny day and it is stunning.

A Mancamp.

And then we went to the local fish hatchery which takes the eggs after the salmon has spawned and raises them to a very young age before releasing them.  When the adult salmon are coming up the Port of Valdez seals and bears are in the area looking for fish.  We didn’t see any bears but we did see the seals.

You see some interesting rvs in Alaska.

And then there is this “campground”.  That camper in the foreground is the “office”.

Is you ever get to Alaska, I would definitely put Valdez on your must visit list!

The Road to Valdez

The four of us agreed that this drive was the most beautiful we had experienced so far! Pictures don’t really do it justice.

This is the part of the scenery that reminded me of Switzerland (minus the chalets).

The diversity of God’s creation continues to amaze us.

Fairbanks

On our way to Fairbanks from Denali, we stopped at the 49th State Brewery.  For those of you who saw the movie, Into The Wild (or read the book) this is the bus used in the making of the movie. The original bus is still out in the wilderness.  We even drove by the road where a stranger drove him to begin his wilderness journey.  It was bizarre to think how close we were to the place where he died.  Good book and movie.

On the way to Fairbanks.

A log cabin church.

We stopped at a beautiful lake to fish.  Didn’t catch anything but it was a beautiful place.

Notice the butterfly.

There isn’t a lot to do in the Fairbanks area but we did go to an ice museum. Everything is made out of ice.  They serve you a drink in a glass carved out of ice.  The temperature inside was 24 degrees.

Entrance into the “hotel”.

You can actually stay there for the night in one of the four bedrooms.  Thanks but no thanks. And you can get married there.  Unless someone gets cold feet. (Joke stolen from the guide)

View of a lakefront camp site.

We went to see part of the Alaska pipeline.  It goes all the way from Prudhoe Bay in the north to Valdez in the south.  That’s about 800 miles.

We followed the general route from Fairbanks to Valdez.  It was like playing Where’s Waldo.  Sometimes the pipeline is underground and sometimes above ground.  Who knew a pipeline could be so interesting.  Although it’s been in use for 40 years there have been very few accidents involving oil spills and those that did happen were very minor.  Chances are that in this day and age it would probably never be built. And that would have been a shame.

 

The end of the Alcan.

And the Alaska State bird.

Next post will be of the highway to Valdez.  It deserves its own post

Denali

On our way to Talkeetna, we stopped at the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Museum. It was so informative and we got to cuddle the huskie puppies!

I really wanted to go on a dog sled run but not really doable in July.  Next best thing was a sled ride around the compound.

We had no idea they would run so fast.  It was really fun!

We were planning on spending a day in the cute little town of Talkeetna on our way to Denali.  On the plane back to Anchorage I was sitting next to a gal who lives there and she told me about this campground.  Can’t get much closer to the river than this.

And I ran in to her in town and got to tell her how much we were enjoying her recommendation.  Locals know best!

Walked to town from our campsite. And then stopped in at the local cemetery.

And then on to Denali.  Roadside views.

Dinner on the barby. Can’t believe the color of that salmon.

The only way you can get into Denali is by bus.  We enjoyed the ride there and saw lots of wildlife but it was all too far away for me to get pics.

Getting close. And she was out!

The weather on Denali can be temperamental.  Many who go there either dont see it at all or only have a partial view due to clouds.  We enjoyed a beautiful day there!

And then hen there is the road. Nobody told me.  The road is gravel and barely wide enough in many places for two buses to pass by each other.  Usually one bus has to stop while the bus going in the opposite direction squeezes by.  The terrain is very steep in some places.  There are no guard rails.  On the way back down the mountain, sitting on the right side of the bus, it is scary.  For those of you who are familiar with Tioga Pass in Yosemite, is a piece of cake compared with this.  But we survived.

On towards Fairbanks and Chena Hotsprings tomorrow.