Friday, July 27, 2012

Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery - Valdez


Here in Valdez, Alaska, we spent three nights at a full service campground in downtown Valdez, but had to leave there because there was a large caravan coming in that had prior reservations. Last year we had stayed at a more rustic campground which is about 7 miles out of town and closer to the Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery which is where we like to spend time observing the wildlife, including bear, salmon, sea lions, and eagles. So we decided to return to that area, where we plan to stay at least two nights.

This year’s wildlife at the hatchery has been no different, with the water absolutely boiling with salmon. Nearly every evening, bear come out to feed and when the tide is out, the eagles come down to feed on the fish remains. Last night I counted over 100 eagles. There are also quite a few sea lions, but we have not yet seen a bear.

There is a asphalt trail that goes along Prince William Sound, past the hatchery, ending at the terminus of the Alaska pipeline. I really enjoy running this for the above mentioned wildlife, the beautiful setting as well as the opportunity to observe all the people who are fishing for the salmon.

After we finished our workouts, we went into town to have our afternoon coffee and pastry and the visit the library so we can have internet access. After we finished at the library, we went to the ferry terminal where there is a nice park where you can observe the boat action in the harbor. We had the unique opportunity to see a Coast Guard boat as they practiced some of their skills. They would throw out rings, markers and other survival and rescue items. They would then move several hundred yards away and then on signal, with sirens and movement of personal on the boat, they would arrange themselves on the side of the boat while quickly accelerating to the area where they had left the items. Then, they rescued those items. They did this quite a few times, with changing of duties for the six member crew. It was interesting to watch and I could not help but notice the big gun that was attached to the front of the boat.

When we got back to the campground, we built a huge fire and cooked burgers and hot dogs. Thankfully, this campground has showers because we certainly did smell like smoke.

Needless to say, we are very much enjoying our time in Valdez.

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