Alaska's Winter Horizon

Alaska's Winter Horizon

Monday, August 26, 2013

Valdez trip, Day 3

Remember to click on the pictures to make them larger.

After eating a good breakfast at the Totem Inn, we loaded up our fishing gear and headed out to catch some salmon. It had been raining, but it had completely stopped by the time we reached Dayville Road. As we neared Allison Point, we found a good place to park and scouted out a promising location.
We knew it was going to be one of those days when Greg caught a fish on the first cast!
Here is a photo of him catching one and in the pic you can see his bear spray canister is handy. There are many bear warning signs along this road. When the fish are in, the bears are looking to feed.

Greg had caught a good handful before I mastered my casting technique.  After that point, Greg spent a great deal of his time helping me get my fish off the hook. I was wearing them out!
  It only got better as the tide made its way in further and further.
We were catching silver and pink salmon that were all very good-sized fish. We had no idea that we were going to do this well so we had nothing to put these fish in. Instead, we practiced the catch and release method. We actually caught fish until we were tired of catching them. 
This pink, or humpy as it is also called, is a perfect example of how they get their name. By the time males enter the streams to spawn, they have formed this large back hump and hooked jaws.

After fishing for nearly four hours and catching over 50 salmon, we decided to call it a day.

We decided before going back to town that we would ride around and see if we could spot some wildlife. More about that in the next blog post.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Valdez Trip Day 2

Left Nelchina Lodge around 11 on a drizzly Saturday morning. Traffic was pretty light although we did run into quite a bit of road construction near Glennallen.  Eventually, we got through the road work and were soon at the Wrangell St. Elias National Park Visitor Center in Copper Center.

 We walked a short hike called the Boreal Forest Valdez Loop.

We enjoyed what views were available on this overcast day.

This will be a stop on our way back and hopefully the weather will permit better views of Mt. Sanford and Mt. Drum.

The views didn't improve at all as we neared Valdez. In fact, the rain got heavier and steadier as we drove on. Fog obscured most glimpses of the mountains. When we reached our destination, Greg got drenched trying to get us checked in to our room at the Totem Inn. We had a nice room in the Chugach Building near the small boat harbor. The rain finally let up and Greg spotted some of the wildlife that may be seen in Valdez.
He managed to get quite a few good pictures,
being careful to keep his distance for anyone that has seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie knows what these things are capable of!
The Brave Sir Robin, a.k.a. Greg, finally snuck back to the room.
After an early dinner, we decided to go see if we could spot some of the better known wildlife in the area. We drove down Dayville Road right on the outskirts of town. The fish hatchery is on this road and bears are frequently seen here. However, this time we didn't see any. On our way back into town, however, we did a see a black bear near the U.S. Forest Service's Crooked Creek Visitor Center. By the time we were able to turn around, the bear was long gone. We did manage to get some pics of the rushing waterfall behind the center.

 Made it back to the room and rested for tomorrow's adventures. Planning on fishing- hope the weather cooperates!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

On the road to Valdez

We left Anchorage about 6 pm Friday night for a trip to Valdez. Since I was gone most of June and July, this is actually the first vacation Greg and I have taken this summer. We stopped in Palmer to get a bite to eat and get snacks for the journey. After eating and shopping we were back on the road. We pulled over at a few scenic overlooks to enjoy the views.
 There are some beautiful vistas between Palmer and Glennallen.
 Further up the road, we happened upon this impressive bull moose.
He was just feeding on some vegetation along the roadside.

 He may be tempting fate as hunting season is upon us.

We made it to our lodgings for the night just after 10 o'clock. We enjoyed staying at the Nelchina Lodge. This place is not the Ritz Carlton, but the rooms are clean, the staff is incredibly nice, and it is about half the price of any other lodge in the area. Bonus...they even had magazines in the room! We woke up rested and ready to continue our adventure.