Thursday, August 9, 2012

Next Stop Valdez

Another weather change as once we made the short 14 mile drive to Glennallen and it was already getting cloudier. Our short time for sun is gone again. At Glennallen, we drove onto the Richardson Highway that ends at Valdez. It is also the end of the Alaska Pipeline. We saw glimpses of it on our way down. The Wrangel Mountains were to the east, which are part of the Wrangel-St. Ellias Naional Park. This park is the nation's largest, the size of 6 Yellowstones!! Unfortunately the farther we went, the cloudier and foggier it got. The roads were pretty bad in places as well, loose gravel, washboard, uneven pavement.



We headed up the Thompson Pass, where you could only see a short distance in front of you. We were able to see some of the largest waterfalls. There are 29 waterfalls in this area and we will make a return trip to check them out when the weather gets better as we are only about 29 miles from Valdez. We stopped at a turnout to take a few pictures of Bridal Veil Falls, one of the largest falls in the area.

As we neared Valdez, it was a little clearer but just a little. Most of the tall mountain peaks are still hidden.




Valdez sits on Prince William Sound, a mix of tidewater glaciers, rainforests and mountains. It is a major fishing area. Our campground, Bear Paw Campground is near the small boat harbor. Not our favorite campgrounds but we picked it to have tv to be able to watch the rest of the Olympics. It is also in walking distance the harbor area with shops and restaurants and we will be able to walk to boat for the glacier tour we will be taking on Friday.




We drove down to the Salmon Gulch Hatchery, where you can observe salmon as they return to spawn. You can some times see bears feeling on the fish. There was a sign that bears were in the area but not when we were there. It was very interesting, though to see the thousands of pink salmon swimming upstream.





Great views from this area that looks across the bay to Valdez. Dayville Road ends at the Alyeska Pipeline Terminal complex. On this road are also Solomon Gulch Falls, a dam site and nice campsites right on the water.







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