Thursday, July 24, 2008

Valdez to McCarthy

16 Jun
Hung around Valdez all morning trying to get a sprocket delivered from Anchorage to Dawson. No luck at all. Visited the museum which was largely devoted to the stampeders heading to the Copper River gold fields* but there was a little on the oil spill tragedy - the Exxon Valdez. Seems the town now is at a relocated site thanks to an earthquake that destroyed the old town. I was in Valdez on a rare fine day. Valdez is also the terminal of the oil pipeline from Prudhoe bay, not that you can see anything of the tanker loading operation.
More glaciers en route to Chitina and McCarthy. McCarthy is a long way from Chitina where the tarseal ends and even then you have to negotiate a foot bridge to get to the town. Stayed at the back packers and spent the evening BSing with the other tourists. A couple of other bikes in town.
It's still daylight at midnight so you have to measure the time you spend awake.
Next day I spent most of the morning touring the old Kennicott mine. It was a copper mine and has long been abandoned by the owners but has been found by the tourists so is currently being made safe for visitors. A fascinating place. The story of the railway into the mine is equally fascinating. Today the rails have been removed and the road in is largely built on the old rail bed.
* The Copper River find appears to have been a hoax perpetrated by the shipping company that transported the hopefuls.