Thursday, July 21, 2011


Tuesday morning while in Anchorage, I ran on a really beautiful trail where I had been warned to be on the lookout for a moose. I never did see the moose, but I did have a very enjoyable run with the temperature being in the low 60s and full sun. The flowers and other plants, along the creek side were wonderful. After the run, I went to a YMCA to shower and then we headed out for Valdez.

It took us two days to make the drive, mostly because we kept stopping for wildlife or scenic attractions/views. We spent the night at a very rustic campground about 10 miles West of Glennallen. Our site was next to a creek and we enjoyed walking through the campgrouds and seeing evidence of moose and other wildlife. The mosquitos were unreal. They weren't as large as some in other arts of Alaska, but there were so many of them. They are really slow, so we could usually swat them before they did any damage. Just before going to bed, I walked down to the restroom and on my way back I kept thinking that it was really cold. When we woke up yesterday morning, our thermometer read 36 degrees. No wonder I thought it was cold!

We then drove the rest of the way into Valdez, but that 120 miles took all day as we stopped to visit Wrangell-St Elias National Park which is the largest park in the US. On down the road we stopped to walk up to the foot of a glacier. Then, we had to make several stops to view and take pictures of some really tall waterfalls. This was probably the best weather and most scenic day that we have had in Alaska. Where we stopped for our roadside lunch was overlooking a huge lake with some very tall mountains in the background. Also, we stopped once to get an up close view of an above ground portion of the Alaska pipeline. What an amazing project! And, it is certainly not something that interfered with our enjoyment of the scenery. Also, by the evidence of lots of scat, the moose are not offended by the location of the line.

We arrived in Valdez early enough to drive around town. We quickly decided that we did not want to be at an in town campground with the "tourists" since we don't consider ourselves to be such and don't enjoy all the noise, etc. On the way into town, we had seen a sign for a camp ground on the road to the Valdez glacier. When we got there, we drove around and picked a nice quiet site with a waterfall view just out our door. When I turned in our money, the host told us to stay away from certain areas as a bear had killed a dog the previous day. The dog belonged to a guy who was out for a run. According to him, had he not had the dog, the bear would have attacked him. I did not get a more complete story, but that was enough for me to drive back into town for my run.

This morning we drove back to the Valdez glacier and then to Robe lake where we talked to a couple of people who were at the lake giving their dogs a swim. They told us that there seemed to be many more bear this year than usual and suggested some areas that we should avoid. We followed those suggestions.

After that we drove to the Solomon Fish Hatchery which is located on the road to the Alaska Pipe Line terminus. At the Hatchery, the salmon where running and I got pictures of them where there were so many it looked like the water was boiling. Due to high security, we could not get anywhere near the pipeline terminus.

We are now in the Valdez library and in a bit we will go for our run/walk and then we plan to eat at a fish restaurant, where they serve only local product. Hopefully, it will be to our expectations.

Since the weather here has been so great and there is so much to see, we have decided to stay a bit longer in Valdez, taking it day by day. We need to be in Skagway/Haines by next Thursday if we are going to take the ferry through the inside passage.

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