Posts Tagged ‘Glacier’

Stewart-Hyder Alaska – Best day for last? 8/26/2009

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

We woke up on morning of 8/26/2009 to find the rain had gone and the day was beautiful.  Since the rain returned the next morning,  this would be our last day in Alaska. It would rank among our best days on our trip.

Who would have thought that Stewart, BC – Hyder had so much to offer.

We came here to see Fish Creek Salmon Observation area in Hyder, Alaska. This is where Black Bears and Grizzlies  come to feast on Salmon. We did see many, many Salmon spawning in 2 miles long creek. There were many people and photographers waiting for the bears to show. We came twice to find them and never saw them at the creek. We did spot a couple of teenage bears as we found our way back to Hyder from our trip the the Salmon Glacier.

The 20 mile mountian gravel road trip to the top of the Salmon Glacier was stupendous! Fred was white knuckling most of the drive. The mountain/canyon views were outstanding. We were able to see the Salmon Glacier from its toe all the way up to the ice field at the top.  We looked down to the glacier from the road. This is the only trip like it anywhere we had been. It also came as a complete surprise. We didn’t know about it until we arrived here.

We would classify Stewart-Hyder as a must see. It appears to be not highly recommended and out of the way. This are presented us with a fond farewell from Alaska.

The Bear River RV campground was woodsy, full service, a Good Sam and inexpensive. We had lunch at  The “Bus” in Hyder as recommended at the campground. The seafood was outstanding. The owner’s husband does the fishing, she does the cooking. Her seafood chowder was the best Fred has had in along, long time.

Portage Valley – July 29-30, 2009

Friday, July 31st, 2009

We pulled into the Williwaw Campground in Chugach National Park. It was just a good stones throw from Portage Lake. We were able to use Fred’s National Parks Senior Pass to get the Campsite at 50% of normal cost. We also got same break at Russian River!

We caught the last boat tour of the Portage Glacier that left at 4:30 PM 

The weather was rainy and somewhat windy. On the way down to Seward, we had stopped at the Portage Visitor’s Center but skipped kayaking on Portage Lake and the Glacier tour due to the rainy weather and a howling wind.

Two weeks later, we had almost the same weather!

The boat tour of Portage Glacier lasted an hour. Most of the hour was spent right in front of the glacier wall. We hoped  to see parts of the Glacier drop into the water. This didn’t happen when we were there. The sight of the Glacier was quite majestic. The National Parks naturalist on board gave an excellent talk about Glaciers and this particular one.


Back at our campsite, Milly prepared an outstanding chicken dinner while Fred poured over the travel and campground guides trying to figure out where we would spent the next few days. Since it was rainy, we had our wine, appetizers and dinner in the camper. This was followed by a DVD movie and an episode of MASH.

We forgot we had generator going past 10 PM. We also thought we were far enough away from other people that the generator wouldn’t bother people. We were brought back to reality when a neighboring camper rather rudely demanded we shut off our generator. Even nice people like us occassionally screw up!

We arrived on Wednesday evening in Wasilla at the Big Bear RV Park. In Wasilla, before “you can see Russia”, you must first smoke some weed!

Before we left portage Valley, we visited the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center. There were Elk, Carabou, Black and Brown Bears, etc. that had been saved. Where possible animals are rehabed for return to the wild. Their habitats at the Center were spacious. This is a must see when and if you are in the Anchorage or Portage area.

We also went to Girkwood but didn’t take the Ski Area Tram to the mountian top. The weather was too cloudy and views would  probably have been blocked.

Grand View & Matanuska Glacier July 12-13/2009

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

We left Chitina on the morning of July 12th. At Glennallen, we headed on the Glenn highway towards Anchorage. We decided to stop overnight at the Grand View RV Park near the Matanuska Glacier.

We enjoyed this campground. We liked the peacefulness and the views. The staff were  very friendly and helpful. Their Cafe was excellent. We stayed an extra night before visiting the Matanuska Glacier.

At the Matanuska State Park, there was a nature trail overlooking the “Mat” Glacier but the only access to the Glacier itself was by paying a visitor’s fee at Glacier View Campground. We took the trail to the Glacier and walked up on the Glacier for a hour.

Root Glacier Hike & Long Lake Paddle July10-11,2009

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

One of the highlights of our trip was planned to be our guided tour of the Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park. It exceeded our expectations on July 10th. Our guide, Kate, spent 5 hours with 4 of us. We spent about an hour hiking from Kennicott up to the foot of Root Glacier. We added a layer of clothing and put ice crampons on our feet. Kate instructed us on what to look out for and how to climb and walk on the glacier.

Then, Kate led us up the foot of the glacier and onto the base glacier. We viewed blue ice and blue water pools. We hiked up to the edge of a large moulin and looked down into the depths of the ice cliff. We saw beginner ice climbers going though their paces.

The scenery was outstanding. The experience of walking up and down various formations was exhilerating.

Kate gave us a lot of information about what we were looking at whether it was wild flowers or moraines.
One outstanding experience!!


On our way back on July 11th to our campsite on McCarthy Road, we found a spot on Long Lake for our kayak put in.

We had a beautiful paddle. The hills didn’t seem as blocked by the smoke as in the prior days.

We saw remote homes accessible from the lake only and how self sufficient they seemed. They pumped water from the lake, had solar panels, had hydroponic gardens on their docks and seemed prepared for winter.

A dog came along the shore to guide us down the lake. We even saw a plane land on the main camp grass as we were taking out our kayaks.

Worthington Glacier & Chitina 07/07-08/2009

Monday, July 13th, 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!