3 Days in Valdez

BridalVeilFalls Anxious to finally get to Alaska, Left Whitehorse, Yukon at 5am May 25th, Memorial Day. We counted 30 plus Elk and another Grizzly as we traveled along the Alaskan Highway. Got to the Yukon/Alaska border mid-morning only to have our frozen chicken, Connie’s precious eggs, fruit, and some vegetables confiscated. Connie had just been shopping and was quite irritated. Come to find out, our friends, Cliff and Cyndy, came through the following day and only had to forfeit a bag of apples. But we were FINALLY in Alaska!

The road was awful, lots of heaving that makes stuff in the trailer fly all over; and construction to get our previously clean truck/trailer looking like we just went through a mud slide…well not quite that bad.

truck-trailer-bridalVeilFalls We left the Alaska Highway at Tok Alaska, headed south on the “Tok Cutoff,” Alaska 1. Parked overnight at Dry Creek State Recreation Area near Glennallen. On Tuesday (May 26) we headed south on the “Richardson Highway”, Alaska 4, from Glennallen junction and was off to Valdez.

We’ve been surrounded our entire trip by the beauty of God’s creation. Breathtaking. We were overtaken again as we traveled the 115 miles to Valdez, occasionally catching glimpses of the Alaska pipeline. Going by Bridal Veil Falls the picturesque drive became ever so apparent.
BilllyMitchelMtn-AKWe had to stop and get a shot of Mount Billy Mitchell, named after Lieutenant William “Billy” Mitchell, a pioneer of the US Army Signal Corp that constructed the Trans-Alaska Telegraph line in 1903.

FatMermaid-LornaAfter getting settled at the Bear Paw Campground, explored the very small (one gas station & a Safeway) and quaint Valdez a bit. Walked around the port to view the many fishing boats, continually marveling over the snow capped mountains surrounding the town around the port. We stopped at the Fat Mermaid, with 15? beers on tap, for dinner. Enjoyed meeting Lorna, a delightful young girl that worked there, but she also works with a helicopter extreme skiing company. Grew up skiing Targhee (near Jackson, WY) in Victor, ID. She is full of stories of her exploits and travels. All quite interesting; including living in Valdez and her extreme skiing experiences.
GlacierSpirt-ValdezHarborSeals-ValdezPipelineTerminalWe booked a 7 hour cruise on the Stan Stevens “Glacier Spirit” around Prince William Sound out to the Columbia Glacier the following day, Wednesday May 27. Saw lots of sea otters in the bay and a good view of the Alaska Pipeline terminal where tankers fill will oil piped all the way from Prudhoe Bay.
ColumbiaGlacier-Valdex ColumbiaGlacier-closerWe saw the Columbia Glacier up quite close, one of the fastest moving in the world. Yes, named after the famous university. We didn’t see it move per se, but lots and lots of ice bergs floating around from all around. It has been retreating¬† since 1980. Our very fine Captain/narrator Chris, explained that glaciers advance and retreat, sometimes in cycles; nothing to do with global warming. There are over 100,000 glaciers in Alaska!
Steller sea lions ValdezAfter the glacier,  we spotted several groups (called a colony or pod) or Steller sea lions sunning on the rocks. Unlike the California sea lions, these northern guys are light blonde to reddish brown. Males weighing in as much as 2500 pounds!
dallsPorpoiseOn they back to port, we only saw one humpback whale at a distance, but enjoyed watching the Dall’s porpoise cruise along side the boat. They moved so fast (reportedly up to 35mph) we didn’t get a picture, but they looked a lot like this picture off the internet.

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3 Days in Valdez — 1 Comment

  1. Oh this was a lovely recap of Valdez! Loved your pictures, made me feel like I was there again. Thanks for sharing your trip, see you soon! Cyndy

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