Day 55: Kuskulana River, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
So here we are in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. This only became a park in 1980, and it is mixed in with private land and national wildlife preserve land, and some state land. The only way to get into the interior of the park is via two very rough, somewhat exciting roads. Today we took the southern road, called the McCarthy road, which takes you to the small town of McCarthy. Five miles up the road from McCarthy is the town of Kennicott. You cannot drive to either McCarthy or Kennicott – you have to walk or take a shuttle. We walked to McCarthy and took a shuttle five miles to Kennicott, where we toured the old mining town. We had a great time going in this 14-story copper mill, where copper comes via tram from the mine down the mountain to the mill, where it is broken, sorted, bagged, and put on a train for Cordova, in the Prince William Sound near Valdez.
Probably cooler than the old mill was the glacier. We saw a big wide area of rock that resembles the pictures of the moon or Mars. We thought it was wasteland from copper mining. I asked our guide how far that waste went and he said three miles at the widest, but it’s not from mining, it is a glacier. We have not seen a glacier like this that is so rock covered. Looking more closely, we could see the bluish glacier ice here and there under the rock.
I didn’t mean to go on, but I thought the place needed some description. It was a great day. We stopped back in McCarthy at the Golden Saloon. We shared a dinner of Alaskan cod on quinoa with orange, Brussels sprout slaw and avocado cream. Delish!
We would like to go back to Kennicott to hike to the Root Glacier, but don’t want to pay the $15 for the shuttle again, so we headed back down the exciting road a short way to stop for the night.
Why is the road exciting? It is curvy gravel with a washboard texture in the mountains and most of the time Tom says how this road is shaking all of Arvi’s screws loose, and asks what is making that rattling sound. He said he’s ok though, and will do the road to the north also.