Three days behind, so here’s how this will work: one post per day, shorter, focusing on the highlights, less on the travel to and fro. Unless that was a highlight. Okay? Okay.
Goodbye Cordova, hello McCarthy. This may be my new favorite town in the country. It definitely wins for Alaska.
A ferry from Cordova to Valdez got us on a road that actually goes somewhere, and we headed east on our way into Wrangell-St. Elias. Stopped at Worthington Glacier on the way, which was pretty cool (cold, too. It’s ice, you know). Cloudy skies parted and blue hung over the white and grey peaks. It was gorgeous: the mountains, the glacier, everything. We didn’t hike on the ice, but we got up close to it via the terminal moraine. A talk with the woman in the station by the parking lot revealed the glacier used to run down to the highway. It’s a few hundred yards back now.
Further to the northeast, we stopped at the Wrangell-St. Elias Visitor Center. Got some maps (and a free one!), watched an awesome video, talked to a ranger. Good times.
Down to Chitina, a small town near the Copper River at the west end of the McCarthy Road: a 60 mile gravel track through the wilderness into Wrangell-St. Elias, passing in and out of federal lands mixed with private land. The road ends at a footbridge. You grab a cart, haul your stuff over, and then get someone from McCarthy to come pick you up and take you the last .6 mile into town. Or you can walk. Your call.
The road is great, the scenery is beautiful, and our right front tire was flat. The last 40 miles in was on a donut, but it made it, and so did we. We stayed at Ma Johnson’s in McCarthy, and old boarding house that’s now a fantastic hotel. And McCarthy is a fantastic place. I’m gonna have to write more about it after I get back. I can’t do it justice here.
Free french fries and Cokes were pity gifts for our flat tire, and they were good. That 60 mile road takes 3 hours, though, so it was time to bed by the time we got in. After we finished those fries, of course.