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Published: July 11th 2009
Where the Hell is Chitina?
These buttons are passed out to travelers entering town and visiting the Chitina Hotel. There is a lot of humor here. Think about it.
Upon arriving in Chitina, we visited the Chitina Hotel where they promptly gave us a pin that read "Where the Hell Is Chitina?". We stayed at Kenny Lake and drove the 30 miles to Chitina (pronounced Chit - na). Chitina used to be a booming town when it was originally established in 1908. It was the northern terminus of the Copper River & Northwestern Railway as a railroad and mining supply town for the Kennecott Copper Mines at McCarthy. The town is now practically a ghost town with just a few buildings remaining. The new owners of the Chitina Hotel bought the old building which was falling down, moved it to a new location down the street, put over $1 million in it, totally remodelling the entire building and opened it as a hotel and restaurant. There are a few other buildings in the area that are pretty run down. There is nice art gallery there as well.
The main interest in the area now that the mine has closed is the Copper River Salmon Industry.
Located all along the river are Fish Wheels. We had never seen a fish wheel before so it was interesting to us. The
local residents (or Alaska Residents) are allowed to fish with fish wheels. They are constructed, placed on the river, and catch dozens of fish each day. This is the mainstay of food for people here during the winter months other than what they kill by hunting. They are also allowed to sell the fish to local canneries and restaurants. Copper River Salmon is said to be the very best Salmon you can catch. See the Fish Wheel pictures in this article for a better explanation of the use and construction of the fish wheels.
While there we drove the extra 12 miles on a bumpy, dusty, potholed, dirt road to Silver Lake. Now that is serious trout fishing! We had a wonderful day on the lake with the Pontoons and the silence was only broken by one of us yelling "FISH ON"! The first trout Patti caught was so large that it broke her 10 lb. test line and the trout left with the lure! How rude! We caught more than 20 fish that day, releasing most of them. We kept 4 large trout and had two of them for dinner that night. Delicious.
One weighed in at a
A View of the Alaska Pipeline
The straight white looking line on the right of the picture is the overland portion of the Alaska Pipeline.
little over 8 lbs.
The most exciting thing to do in town, so we were told, was to travel 18 miles up a bumpy dusty dirt road, climb up onto the new $3 million dollar River Bridge.There you can throw rocks into the water and count the seconds until the rock hits the water. Now, that's what we call entertainment ! We skipped that little adventure! Don't bother either with the Uncle Tom's Tavern. If you can cut your way through the cigarette smoke and the stench, you could buy a beer, but why bother. We headed for home for a cold beer and some fresh trout !
Stops along the way at Liberty Falls and Miriam Falls were a good photo opportunity. All in all, a beautiful day of fishing.
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