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It wasn't too long after we hit the road this morning that we pulled over at one of the scenic overlooks to take more photos of Mount Sanford. It somehow seems to be in the background of every shot we take lately.

There's Mount Sanford again.

A sixty year old native Alaskan selling souvenirs he carves out of wood and antlers.
Tricia bought three beads made from Dahl Sheep antler bone for $9 to make her own souvenir.

Our original intent was to overnight at the Liberty Falls State Recreation Area campground,
but the sites were way too small, heck we barely made it through the campground loop.
However there was this lovely little waterfall at the entrance!

Another scenic overlook with that damn mountain again, but we took this photo
to show you the Copper River we now plan to be camping next to.

It order to reach the Copper River Campground
you'll have to pass through the very small town of Chitina (pop. 126).
To exit the town you'll have to drive through this 10-foot wide cutout in the mountain.

We arrived at the campground and had we been willing to risk
towing THE POD through this deep sandy spot...

...we could have camped right on the graveled bank of the Copper River.

We (meaning Tricia) opted to not bend another axle on THE POD
and we camped in a designated site on the loop where everybody else does.

WEDNESDAY - Today we'll we exploring our very first Alaskan sightseeing destination.

The Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark is located deep inside of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

At 13.2 million acres, the park is the same size as Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Switzerland combined! It is America's largest National Park.

We'll be visiting but a small part of that today, by driving 58+ miles (one way) on a mostly gravel road to reach the outskirts of the town of McCarthy. From there we'll walk 1/2 mile into town to catch a FREE shuttle that will transport us to the Kennecott Mine site some 5 miles outside the opposite side of town.

Once there we signed up for a two hour walking tour with the St. Elias Alpine Guides Company that visits the inside of the big processing plant. Other than taking the tour, the plant is closed to the public. We hiked up the outside of the plant along a gravel hillside and entered from the very top level. Then through a series of stairs and ladders inside the plant we decended all the way back down to street level. It was no worse than some of the cave tours we've been on.

From 2014 until 2017 the town of McCarthy was featured in a "reality TV show" called Edge of Alaska which was aired on the Discovery Channel. You may have watched it, I know I did. Most of the series was nothing more than TV drama based loosely on fact, but that's the definition of "reality TV" isn't it?


Scenes from the

McCarthy Road Drive


Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark

These are the "fish wheels" they use to pull salmon out of the Copper River.
NOTE: Our neighbors, Adrian and Mark, own the red one and only caught one Sockeye Salmon on opening day, and yet they shared some with us. Even I loved it!! - T
Our first look at the 525 foot long Kuskulana River Bridge.
This roadway was placed over the railroad tracks that the bridge was originally constructed for back in 1910.
There is a walkway under the bridge if you're nimble enough to climb up a sloping 8-foot concrete wall and reach it, we weren't!
We did hike further down below the bridge on a steep gravel trail to take this photo.
One of many waterways located on both sides of the McCarthy Road.
This is the original Gilahina Trestle Bridge over the Gilahina River, it is no longer in use.
Another view of the railroad trestle bridge used to cross over the Gilahina River.
At the McCarthy River we said goodbye to ROVER and walked across this pedestrian bridge that leads into town.
During our short 1/2 mile walk into McCarthy we had an excellent view of our first glacier.
Once in McCarthy we saw the Famous Golden Saloon, which is the center of entertainment every night of the week.
There were several antique cars scattered all over town, this was my favorite.
We did see a little wildlife during our drive like this pair of Trumpeter Swans.
Then we saw this huge beaver lodge on one of the numerous ponds.
This metal sign greets you at the end of a five mile shuttle van ride from McCarthy.
This is the Kennicott Glacier Lodge which currently sponsors the free shuttle vans.
The mining operations building (mill house) dominates one side of town.
This creek divides the town in two, the residential side and the business side. Only employees of the mine were allowed to cross the creek.
After hiking up a steep hillside trail we reached the entrance at the top of the mill house.
Looking back down into the residential side of town.
This is the rest of the business side of town.
Believe it or not, this is the toe of the glacier and there is ice just a foot below the rock and sand.
An interior walkway inside the mill house.
Some of the massive mechanical parts of the mine equipment.
Large ammonia holding tanks found inside of the Leaching and Floatation Plant were used as a final attempt to pull any remaining copper ore out of the raw materials.
Street level view of the mill house.

We left THE POD at 8:30AM to begin our day and didn't return until 7:00PM. When we got back I talked with our campground neighbors, Adrian and Mark, and inquired how their first day of salmon fishing went. They fish using a large fish wheel device. Last night at midnight, June 1st, is opening day of the salmon season here on the Copper River.

I was told their total haul for the first day was just one average sized Sockeye Salmon. I wished them better luck tomorrow and went inside THE POD to begin composing this post.

Several minutes later I heard Tricia's voice outside, talking to the same two neighbors, and knew she had returned from taking even more photos of the Copper River from the nearby bridge. When she came inside she was carrying a tin foil packet of expertly cooked and seasoned fresh Sockeye Salmon. Wonder way they didn't offer me any?

Tricia was kind enough to share and now, unlike before, she loves salmon!




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