Friday, July 24, 2015

What to do if you have 10 days and want to see Alaska

Sharon made a connection with her third cousin via Facebook about a year ago. 

As time went on Sharon invited her up to visit. And to our surprise she accepted the invitation, and asked if her brother could come along with her.

Sharon was elated ! She went ahead and made up an itinerary that would cover the the complete time that her cousins were up here. She picked this little trick up from her sister when we would visit England, with an itinerary your sure not to miss a good attraction and to see as much as we can in 10 days.

Stacy is 25, and Cory is 28 both were born and raised in Arizona. And we had never met face to face before.

Leaving Arizona

On the way

Clear flying

Arrival in Alaska

Back yard around 10:00 P.M.
Bob and Sharons' guard dogs        Lilly and Lolly

They arrived in Alaska at 5:45 in the afternoon on Sunday July 12. We picked them up at the airport and brought them to Wasilla, had a quite dinner and learned a little about each other. We then went on to explain what our plans were going to be for their visit. And explained we're not going to have that many Down Days

 Iditarod Headquarters

Woke up early Monday morning and headed towards the Iditarod Headquarters which is in Wasilla.

Stacy and Cory
Cory found a new friend a real Alaskan Sled Dog

Sled Dogs are hard to pass up

Taking a dog sled ride with Ramie Redington, the son of Joe Redington Sr.
The father of the Iditarod

Palmer Alaska

Next stop was Palmer for a quick lunch and then a trip up to Hatcher Pass

Palmer Alaska

Matanuska River

The weather is starting to close in a little bit time to move up to the mountains

A historical center  refurbished by the State Parks

Mountain Rain

Moose Guard made of  branches

Stopped to visit a friend on the way back from Hatcher Pass
Day Two

Turnagain Arm Drive

The ride to Seward Alaska is just at 4hrs long. Our reservations with Kenai Fjords Tour Company was for the 12:00. Alaska is right in the middle of it's construction season, so we made sure we were on the rode a by 7:00 AM. It was raining the whole way to Seward, but thank goodness it stopped on our arrival.

Well we made with out to much time to spare

Sharon and myself

Kayakers just out cruising around

Fjords are mountains that come directly out of the sea.

Hanging Glaciers

Great Meal included Prime Rib, Salmon, for $12.00 Addit. Crab Legs. All you can eat

View off Porch you can eat outside weather permitting

Families skipping rocks together

Our meal at Fox Island,  all you can eat WOW

So our day started out at 7:00 AM,  we arrived in Seward for a 12:00 sailing.

The tour took about 5 hrs to complete. We had reservations at the Land's End Resort that evening. Getting to Homer going to be another 4+ hours

Day Three

View from our rooms at Lands End Resort

Infamous Salty Dog Bar in Homer Alaska

The inside of the bar is plastered with dollar bills  with names or sayings on them

And naturally Stacy and Cory added their dollar to posterity 

We had an additional stop to make before we headed for home base

Alaska Wildlife Conservatory

Beautiful setup  for seeing live bears

Yup thats a lounge bear

It's about the time for the bears to be fed, 3:30 for Black Bear 4:30 for Brown Bear

The next stop was home because we have in Talkeetna Alaska to ride some Zip Lines

Day 4

From left to right Bob, Cory, Stacy, Sharon, And another couple from Arizona 

Stacy getting wild

Hanging out in the trees

Short Rappel

Hanging out in the trees

One of Two Rope Bridges

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The whole gang
Zipping is over

The last ride

Next stop is Home and packing for the trip to McCarthy. This is going to be a modified camping trip we just need to get together sleeping pads, sleeping bags, one large tent small cook stove for coffee-hot chocolate. We'll be eating our meals in restaurants

McCarthy is about 300 miles away from our house, the last 60 miles of which is probably best driven at 20-30mph it is a dirt road. We have been going there since 1984 a year after a guy who used to live there tried to kill the entire town

Days 5-6

To get to McCarthy you have to travel up the Glenn Highway, there is always a lot of construction during the summer time. But this sign really caught my attention.

The drop wasn't that bad but you can never be to sure.

The Matanuska Glacier

This glacier carved out the valley we now live in.

An Alaskan tip. It's always chilly standing in front of a Alaskan Glacier,

Alaska Pipeline

Alaska Pipeline

Looking South

Edgerton Highway going to Chitna Alaska

About 17 miles on the road you get the opportunity to cross the Kuskulana River

When me and Sharon first came across this bridge it didn't have any guard rails. Just 12 x12 timbers on each side
Needless to say we never got out of the car.

Did I tell everyone the road that we were driving on was the roadbed for the railroad that took the copper from the Kennicott Mill to Cordova Alaska. They had to build quite a few bridges to be able to make that trip

Some history on this Bridge, Double click on this link

This Bridge was built in 11 days

A good friend of mine did some wild camping  here a couple of years ago

11 days to build that Amazing

Swans and their family         They bond for life

Since the Park Service took over they built quite a few way stations for people

And the interiors are clean and stocked

A beaver lodge on a pretty good sized lake

The town has changed quite a bit since we've been coming here but I think it's all been for the good

McCarthy the reality show on Discovery channel

Waiting for the bus to get to Kennicott

Stacy going native with her head covering

Kennicott History Click here to see

Kennicott was the copper mine and McCarthy was the place where the single men could unwind.

There is a separation of seven miles between the two. Today there is a shuttle service that will transport you from the bridge to McCarthy and back no charge. If you want to make the trip up to Kennicott the shuttle charges $5.00 one way or $10.00 round trip

14 Story Concentration Mill
The Kennicott  Recreation Center

The copper ore went from here to Cordova Alaska

I have always been amazed that those stacks never fell over

The building on the left is the Hospital it was originally whitewashed. The rest of the buildings were all painted red as the color was the least expensive

The Power House

This was Cory's very first camping trip

Our Campsite

Day Seven

We brake down the camp and are on the road by 8:00

Heading to Valdez to catch the ferry to Whittier

Along the way  we get to see a little wildlife

Some of the little guys have never seen cars or trucks

And it's evident, as to how close you are able to get to them

I told you a friend of ours, Mike Saunders did some wild camping on this spot

The amazing Copper River

On the way in to McCarthy while driving down the Edgerton Highway, we passed a very clean farm-ranch, but what caught my eye was the word Fithian that was carved in to a log sign and that was the only thing that I saw racing by at 60 mph. Sharon and I have been in Alaska for 35 years and during that time I have only met one person with that name, I told Sharon we're going to have to stop on the way to Valdez. Coming from the other direction on the road I almost missed it.

I pulled in to the front yard and there was a small cabin, but the main house was a little further in on the property. Now remember I've not set my eyes on this man in close to 30 years. I call out two or three times, hello anybody here. I'm just about ready to give up, when this guy pops out of the house tossing on a cowboy hat, Our eyes catch each others and we both call out to each other Bob. I couldn't believe it.

Bob and I both worked at the Independence Mine. I had come up fromWyoming, and he had come up from Colorado. He stayed in the mining industry and branched out to a lot of different things. His oldest son is 30 yrs. And he has 12 grandchildren. We swapped some stories and promised to get back together again

Two old Miners
It was great meeting up with you and Barb again.

One of many Yaks
I think this is a bull

Bob and his wife Barbaras' Ranch

Double Click on the link ( great clip of a yak stampede)

Alaska Yaks

Worthington Glacier in Keystone Canyon on the way to Valdez Alaska.

Summer Vacation Stacy and Cory

Bridal Vail Falls in Keystone Canyon 

I believe this is Horsetail Falls in Keystone Canyon

Bridle Vail Falls

Catching up 

Lunch at the Fat Mermaid in Valdez Alaska

Hard to believe anyone can bite into a burger like Cory

How to take a bath in a public washroom

Day Eight

Getting ready to get on the ferry that will take us to Whittier the only problem it is leaving at 7:00 in the morning And we have to be ready to board at 6:00.  So the four of us decide We'll just sleep in the truck, Note to self do not do again, we would have been better off just sleeping on the grass oh well live and learn.

The trip between Valdez and Whittier is a little over 4 hours, a very pleasant ride via the

Whittier Alaska

The only place to eat in Whittier Alaska

After a quick lunch at the Swiftwater Cafe, we are heading out for the Alaska Wildlife Conservatory
On the other side of the mountain, but first we are going to take a ride thru a 2.5 mile long Whittier Tunnel

We're going to be driving behind a camper unit

Here we go

On the other side of the mountain is Portage Lake. When we first came came to Alaska  you were able to see the glacier, but it has receded around to the left of the mountain in front of you. 

And this is just for your enjoyment

Live Bear-Salmon Cam From Katmai National Park

I hope you all enjoy please send comments