(Chuck & Jan) Saturday was our day to leave Anchorage and drive to Glennallen and then south to Valdez. With it’s breath taking views and vistas on Highway A4, especially the last 30 miles, the bumpy road could be tolerated. The numerous waterfalls in the mountains along the way were absolutely thrilling. Add to that several glaciers, Thompson Pass and T? Canyon and it was really one of the prettier drives we’ve taken in Alaska.
We arrived in Valdez on a gloomy, rainy Saturday afternoon and parked our RV at the Elks Club. We were definitely in the right place at the right time, though. Valdez was celebrating Gold Rush Days and on Sunday we got in on a really cool parade, a free fish fry dinner along the waterfront and boat races on the pond. They even had Elvis singing for entertainment during the Fish Fry! Valdez is a working town with many young families; there were kids everywhere! It was so much fun to be a part of.
|Boat races! ||Parades + Candy = Kids!||Elvis!|
Valdez is the terminus for the Alaska pipeline and it’s tanker loading facilities are situated across the bay from the town of Valdez. The terminus is closed to the public. We were able to catch sight of the Pipeline several times on our way here.
We were in Valdes in time for the return of the Pink or Humpy Salmon. The pink salmon are not highly prized by the sports fisherman but are a mainstay for the commercial fisheries. Most of the Pink salmon is canned. The stream was thick with Pinks along the creek bed as they were returning to the hatchery waters. Click on the photo at left to enlarge.
Our drive out of Valdez on Monday was delightful. We again got to go up over Thompson pass and see all of the waterfalls & glaciers. The northern section of Highway 4A runs along the western edge of Wrangell-St. Elias NP and Preserve. The park system encompasses 22.9 million acres of wild lands and wilderness, the second highest peak in the U.S., Mt. Elias, 18,029 feet along with the greatest collection of glaciers and largest collection mountain peaks over 16,000 feet. But there are very few roads in the park. We were able to stop at the Visitors Center to see the exhibits and watch a film about this colossal park.
Our drive that evening ended in Tok, our last night in the amazing state of Alaska.