Worthington Glacier & Chitina 07/07-08/2009

We left Valdez on the morning of July 7th travelling on Edgerdown Highway with McCarthy in Wrangell-St Elias National Park as our ultimate destination. We thought we were going to stay at Blueberry Lake State Park for a night while we visited Worthington Glacier.

We passed through Keystone Canyon and Bridal Falls. We drove through Blueberry Lake area. The lake was small and uninteresting. We decided to visit the glacier and head to a primitive campground at Chitina at the beginning of McCarthy Road. We parked our camper at Chitina campsite for 5 days. We stayed there the nights of the 7th and 8th. We also stayed there on 11th when we came back from staying the 10th and 11that Ma Johnson’s, a historic lodge in McCarthy. This posting concerns itself with the trip to Chitina and our initial day there with the salmon fishermen.

The trip continued to be plagued by smoke haze from fires burning in Alaska. This impacted our ability to get quality scenic pictures of the mountain views.

When we arrived in Chitina, we found a very small town on the Cooper River. There was a gas station with small grocery section, a liquor store, a couple of gift shops, post office, a visitors center and a ranger station. Chitina is the starting point of the McCarthy Road, which is a 60 mile Alaskan gravel road that leads to the historic towns of McCarthy and Kennicott.

The Cooper River is full of glacier silt and is very fast flowing. The river delta area around Chitina was full of silt blown by the strong winds that often occur there. Our primitive campground has inches of silt on the ground. Walking around there was like walking on moons surface. You were always kicking up dust.

Our campsite was setup by the state. There were picnic tables, fire rings and vault toilets. There was no water. You had to bring your own water or get refills in Chitina about a mile away. It was on one side of the road. On the other side were the salmon fish wheels, dip net fishing areas and a campground area maintained by the native tribes.

It was fasinating to see the different homemade fish wheels in operation. Each was unique but operated with strong current pulling the scoop nets around and around. We could see where the “caught” salmon would fall to the side into container as the net turned around. The fisherman all had the campers parked in random locations around the delta. There with ATVs all over the place. Alaskans call them over land vehicles.

Comments on talking to Alaskans: Sarah is a true Alaskan and she is loved by most of these people. Don’t mention Obama. They are true conservatives up here!

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply