This morning's weather was a pleasant surprise. Although it rained most of the night, we woke to a brisk, clear day, with some clouds obscuring the mountains. We've been very fortunate on this trip. Although we've had our share of weather, for the most part it hasn't adversely affected our plans. We departed our site at 8 am. The Bayside RV park was one of the prettiest parks we've stayed at. It certainly was the best run and the cleanest we've ever seen. The place was immaculate.
We began by backtracking up the Richardson Highway, making our first stop just outside of town at the base of the Valdez Glacier. The scenery there was pretty impressive, and the visual of all the gold seekers hauling 1000 lbs of equipment and supplies up this glacier was mind boggling. Another stop at the two spectacular waterfalls just east of town and the old railroad tunnel, hand carved through the mountainside, were great photo ops. The railroad was never completed, as two rival companies had a gun battle at the tunnel, and the project was scraped.
The Richardson Highway was Alaska's first road, known to gold seekers in 1898 at the Valdez
to Eagle trail. The gold fever started back up again in 1902, this time heading all the way to Fairbanks, 800 miles away. We turned off the highway once again at the Worthington Glacier, again an impressive sight. This is the most frequented attraction in Valdez, and many cruise ship buses are making their appearance here. The glacier heads on Girls Mountain, 6,134 feet. From there, we drove to Glenallen, where a short stretch break was in order, and a nice cup of hot chocolate from a local vender helped fight off the chill in the air. The trip up through the Copper Valley was spectacular, with major vistas all around. Glimpses of the the Alaskan pipeline were frequent as well, meandering through the forests and valleys of the area, on it's way to the sea.
After our break, we headed west on the Glenn Highway toward Palmer, AK, our final destination for the day. Although the first part of this route was rather boring, with flat, unassuming terrain, that changed rather quickly, where the mountains, steep dropoffs, glaciers and winding switchbacks got our attention in a hurry. You've heard us say it before, but words can't describe the
beauty and sheer "wildness" of this part of the country. As far as we're concerned, this is the only way to truly see and experience Alaska, and we recommend it highly. An added treat was two Moose encounters along the way. The first was two adult Moose feeding near the highway, the second was a mother with her calf. On our approach, she prodded her young to a quick exit to the nearby forest, but Sandy got some great pictures of both. These animals are huge, and very impressive.
Arriving in Palmer, we drove to the Shane Lamb studio in the downtown area. He is a famed photographer, noted for his Alaskan wildlife pictures. Sandy purchased a picture of a grizzly cub on our last trip to Alaska, and wanted a mate to hang next to it. She picked out a great picture of a trio of wolves, which will be shipped home. Happy Mother's day.
We finally located the Big Bear RV park, and settled in at this well maintained property. After our cocktail hour, with my famous chicken wings (purchased at Costco) we ate a delicious meal prepared by the Cat herder's wife. Going to have
later departure tomorrow, as the trip up to Denali is not that far. We'll be linking up with the Naples, FL group again, as we've not seen them since Yellowstone.
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