Friday July 12th 2019
After being crammed in at our last campsite this campground was a nice relief. We were the only ones there for a couple of days.
We took a long day trip into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. It was a 60 mile gravel road to Kennecott Mill Town. The road ended at Kennecott river. Most people then walk across the pedestrian bridge and get a paid shuttle for the 5 miles to Kennecott. After the grueling road trip we decided to ride our bikes for a little exercise and also save $30. It was 5 miles uphill a gravel road, although I must admit it was a gradual climb. The ride back was a cinch!!
Kennecott was a thriving copper mining town in the early 1900’s
After the copper petered out in the 1930’s the whole place was pretty much abandoned. The National Park Service acquired most of the town and surrounding area to make Wrangell-St. Elias the largest National Park in the United States. With massive mountains and glaciers this park is over 20,000 square miles and 25% larger than Switzerland.
The National Park is slowly restoring some of the old buildings.
The best part of the day was lunch and beverages at the lodge.
We were really looking forward to Seward since we had such a good time visiting 5 years ago. However a huge wildfire in the area has created a very smokey environment. The smoke did not deter the Halibut fishing. Every day we watched the charter boats come back the with the days catch to be filleted, frozen and shipped off to the lower 48.
Seward is a busy port in the summer. Cruise ships sailed in most nights and stayed a day or so. Cargo barges haul everything from vehicles to food. This day we could see a bit of the snowy mountains 2 miles across the bay.
The next few days we had this view.
We had a nice hike in Kenai Fjords National Park even though there was quite a bit of snow to slip slide along. We finally hiked above the smoke! Time to take a few deep breaths.
There were so many glaciers.
Finally after 5 miles and 3000 feet elevation gain we made it to the top. We had a nice long rest on that bit of grass before heading down.
11 pm and the path in front of our camper is still bustling. Everyone is waiting for the July 4th firework display at 12.01 am. Since it was still pretty light at midnight the fireworks were not very bright.
We enjoyed watching the annual Seward Marathon race. It is a 5k run to the top of Mount Marathon and back down with a vertical gain of 3022 feet.
Nearly 20,000 people come to Seward for race day.
Since we still consider ourselves Oregonians we were happy to see a young man from Bend Oregon win the mens race in just over 43 minutes.
All the runners got a hose down to wash away the mud and blood.
These seagulls were feasting on salmon fingerlings making their way to the ocean.
Moving on to Homer.