Yukon Territory

Valdez to Chitina on the Richardson Hwy, AK

26 August 2010 - Thursday

It remained busy most of the night so we both slept with our earplugs in.  Much too hectic in this town for our liking.  Time to move on!

The road out of Valdez goes by the old town of Valdez -- where it was located before the 9.2 magnitude earthquake on 27 March 1964.  I remember that earthquake when it happened as our home was affected.  Dad took me and my baby brother on a road trip through Valdez in November 1964 on our way to see the Veterans Day parade in Anchorage.  The devastation was incredible to see.

Richardson Hwy in Alaska

Across the port the pipeline terminus is also visible on a clear day. 

Richardson Hwy in Alaska
Pipeline terminus across the bay

Then away from civilization again. 

Richardson Hwy in Alaska
Heading eastward on the Richardson Highway with the Lowe River

Richardson Hwy in Alaska
Glaciers are visible through the valleys, this looking south from the highway

In Keystone Canyon, we stopped by the "Old Railroad Tunnel".  Apparently this tunnel was hand cut, then there was some sort of gun battle.  The tunnel was never finished. 

Richardson Hwy in Alaska
Steve and Tazz standing at the end of this bit of "tunnel"

We had stopped at Bridal Veil Falls and Horsetail Falls on our way into Valdez so didn't stop on the way out.  Just as well, both areas were very busy with bus tours. 

The climb up to Thompson Pass provides views of more glaciers.

Richardson Hwy in Alaska
Climbing towards Thompson Pass

And more climbing and more glaciers ...  

Richardson Hwy in Alaska
Keystone Glacier (I think) viewed from the Thompson Pass area on the Richardson Highway

At the top of the climb, there is a large pull off by a small lake.  We had wondered whether this would be a good spot to overnight, if one were so inclined.  It was a lovely spot with some narrow paths down to the lakeshore.

Richardson Hwy in Alaska
Looking southward over Thompson Pass

The views from the gravel pull off were also stunning. 

Richardson Hwy in Alaska
Looking southwest, back along the Richardson highway with the highway maintenance camp in the distance

Next stop was Worthington Glacier.  We didn't stop on the way to Valdez as it was getting late in the day when we went by.   Today was a great day to visit the glacier!

Worthington Glacier on the Richardson Hwy in Alaska
Worthington Glacier alongside the Richardson Highway 

Worthington Glacier has receded a great deal since our first visit in September 1993.

Worthington Glacier on the Richardson Hwy in Alaska
Close-up shot of Worthington Glacier taken with the zoom lens

Richardson Hwy in Alaska
Looking northward from near Mile 68 - N61 30.481 W145 12.675

At the junction for the Edgerton Highway we turned east towards Kenny Lake.  Kenny Lake has the distinction for having the most expensive fuel of our whole trip.  Try not to fill up there. 

From Kenny Lake, turned south towards Chitina.  Drove through the very small town of Chitina to the Copper River to look for a spot to leave the fifth wheel while we drove to McCarthy tomorrow.

Checked out the recreation site at the river but it wasn't well maintained and none of the sites appealed to us.  So crossed the highway to the large open area alongside the river.

Chitina, Alaska
The bridge over the Copper River and a fish wheel alongside the river - N61 31.846 W144 24.362

There were numerous folks camped here & there, and also some fisherman.  After chatting with a few of the folks who appeared to be "residents", we learned that it is a free-for-all.  Park where you wish, but respect the signs marking private lands.  

It was VERY windy.  The first spot we considered was much too windy; the fifth wheel was swaying!  So moved to a spot behind some trees.  Despite the wind, Steve still wanted a fire.

Chitina, Alaska
Steve sat by the fire by himself on this night -- too windy for Sue!

The wind meant no bugs though.  Several other people pulled in and set up for the night too.  It was a good spot even with the trees bending in the wind. 

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