Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sunday July 17th - Chitina to Kennicott Glacier & Mine to Tok

One thing we were expecting was a 50+ mile drive to the Kennicott Glacier and Mine.   What we weren't expecting was a dirt/gravel road riddled with pot holes and washboard sections and RVs going 6 mph.   In any case we finally arrived at the McCarthy 2 1/2 hours later.   What we also didn't know was that you had to park your vehicle, walk across a foot bridge over the river and then catch a shuttle bus which ran every half hour.

Despite those few setbacks, once we got to the Kennicott Mine we were just amazed.    Another trip back into history.   This mine town from the early 1900s appeared as it did many years ago.   The National Park Service has been doing a great job in restoration but there is still a way to go, especially on the 14 story elevator building.
We walked thru the buildings and watched the NPS video working up an appetite that we satisfied with  some really great food at the Kennicott Glacier Lodge,  a vintage but well appointed hotel.

Along the south side of the mine property we had noticed what appeared to be endless piles of tailings, miles and miles of them.   What we found out is that those miles of what looked to be crushed rock was miles of glacier with a layer of rock and sand on top.  The main glacier, a huge sheet of ice 27 miles long was to our west and easily seen.    The views were just awesome.

After spending more than twice the time we allotted for Kennicott,  we left very pleased and looking forward to coming back again in the future.

As we left the shuttle at the foot bridge, the clouds parted and revealed the face of the glacier to us again while a group of people were putting rafts into the water for a rapids trip.

Our destination was Tok,  a couple of hundred miles north to meet up with Woody and Carole for the next days drive to Chicken and Eagle.

The group agreed that these past two days on the Denali Highway and Kennicott were now the highlights of the trip so far.

Downtown Main Street Chitina, AK
Chitina Fire Alarms on telephone poles
Salmon Fisherman at the Copper River
 RVs camped right up to the Copper Rivers shore line
 Views on the way to McCarthy
McCarthy town views
Seriously McCarthy?
Kennicott Mine Views (the actual mine is high in the mountains and ore was brought down by cable car)
 Kennicott Lodge with view from Balcony

Kennicott Glaciers end is covered by sand and gravel and looks like miles of tailings piles
 The ice of the glacier peeks thru the sand and gravel crust in many areas
 Kennicott Glacier Views
Kennicott Glacier feeds this river and rapids

On the way to Tok

Grizzley Foot Prints

1 comment:

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