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I am really glad we waited for the rain to stop because today was a really good day. Clear blue skies, warm but not too hot and one of the most beautiful bits of highway. A 700 picture day.
Since there is only one highway in and out of Valdez we are backtracking but we stopped to do all the things we skipped on the way in.
Our first stop was Horsetail Falls. It is just around the corner from Bridal Veil Falls, which we saw on the way in, however today Horsetail is in the sun and Bridal Veil is in the shade.
There was even a hint of a rainbow if you looked from the right direction.
We are also back in the Keystone Canyon which make for great views even without the waterfalls.
We stopped at an old railway tunnel.
Next was the calm before the storm, so to speak. A bit of flatness before the long climb up Thompson Pass.
The climb is 7.5 miles and 2600 vertical feet. The RV could comfortably manage about 30 mph and got about 2 mpg. Slow and steady.
This reflecting lake was part way up.
We stopped at one of the turnouts near the top. On the way in we had seen a path that followed a ridge out, which looked like it had some good views back down.
Jennie is always looking at the plants and rocks.
The highway, that we were just on, is that curve just next to Jennie in the picture below. Keystone Canyon is behind the sloping hill in the distance.
We had lunch at the turnout before moving on. The other side of the pass is very long and gently sloping. I love this kind of hill. Great for the gas mileage.
Our last stop was the Worthington Glacier State Recreation Area. I read in someone’s blog that they were somewhat disappointed with the view from the park as compared to the highway. We could see why. Here is the road view from the other day. The Rec Area is near the bottom left branch.
And here is the view from the official lookout. Not great.
What she was unable to do or didn’t notice was that you were allowed to basically go anywhere you wanted past the official trail, as long as you realized it was your own responsibility if something went wrong. Of course we went right up to the foot of the glacier. It was MUCH better up close.
Notice Jennie as the tiny brown smudge about 1/3 up close to the left edge below.
This is what parts of the top of the glacier looked like.
Jennie really wanted to go into some of the ice caves to take pictures of the deep blue ice but I suggested that that was not a great idea with the warm weather.
A view a bit farther back and higher up the glacier.
and back down the valley.
This waterfall was on the hill between the two branches of the glacier and started up near the top of the branch.
Notice how the water looks kind of grey. It is just loaded with silt. What amazed us was the number of large rocks that came flying down the falls. We saw an almost constant stream of up to fist sized rocks tumbling over. You could tell the power of the water because with the number we saw in such a short time there should have been a huge pile of rubble at the bottom but it is all just washed away. This was not a waterfall you would want to get close to.
We hopped across the braided streams to get back. We really didn’t want to leave.
More great scenery as we continued north on the Richardson Highway.
Tomorrow we are going to drive into Wrangell St Elias National Park on the McCarthy Road. We are going to stay two nights at Kenny Lake which has the closest nice campground. We will leave the RV and take the CRV into the park and back in one day. It is a 90 mile, 2-3 hour drive each way.
This is the view as we turned onto the Edgerton Highway towards the park and its mountains. The clouds are still obscuring the mountain tops.
We arrived at the RV park about 5 and got the last free campsite. The lady said it is not normally this busy.
Here is the view of Mount Wrangell on the left and Mount Blackburn from the RV park with a bit of the red sun shining on them.
One of our top 5 days of the trip (at least so far).
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