Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

August 4-5, Wrangell-St Elias National Park

Nancy and I threw our tents and sleeping bags in the Jeep and took off early in the morning to drive the 60 miles on McCarthy Road to McCarthy. It  is "graded" dirt all the way.   We weren’t sure where we were going to stay.  There are several lodges and B&Bs in the area, but most don’t take pets.  Tent camping was our "plan B".  
We arrived in time to find a B & B but they would not take pets.  However, the owner said I could allow Sadie to sleep in the Jeep (she would prefer that anyway) which would be parked close to the cottage.   The room wasn’t ready and we could pay when we returned in the afternoon.  I left Sadie in the shade in the Jeep. We hurried off for our afternoon adventure...a walk on the Root Glacier near Kennecott.   Just getting to Kennecott is an adventure.  There are no cars allowed over the river.  A foot bridge leads to the town of McCarthy and then you catch a shuttle to Kennecott five miles further.  

Copper River

Part of the old train trestle that carried copper to Cordova.

We hired a guide for a group tour on the Root Glacier. 
           The toe of the Root Glacier.  This is where we are going.

It turned out we were the only participants.  Apparently most go out in the morning.  Our guide, Rebbecca, showed us how to put on crampons and walk in them.  She guided us up a very steep hill and then we begin traversing across the glacier experiencing some of the most amazing things.  

She showed us how to go down steep inclines, which was the most challenging for me. 

            What is Nancy looking at?  

     Its a moulin, a hole in the ice where water drains through and under.  Usually, you have to climb down in them to see them. 
The clouds brought out the different colors and textures of the glacier.

    We started up an ice canyon, much like a slot canyon.  This one was not very long. 

             Beautiful water falls into another moulin

  No, this is not dye in the water.  The light reflects from the ice creating the blue color.  This pool is pretty shallow.  I could see the bottom. 
Moraines formed by the glacier.  You can see part of the Kennecott glacier in the very upper left. 

                      There is ice under the rocks.  These are all part of the moraine from the glacier. 

  This is a rock glacier.  Rocks are mixed with ice and act like a glacier moving slowly down the hill.  

It started to rain just after we were getting off the glacier and rained all the way back to Kennecott.  Dinner proved to be the next challenge.  There are a few eateries but all are on the McCarthy side of the foot bridge.  I needed to get back over the bridge (about 1 mile) and retrieve Sadie. Glacier View Cafe was right next to the McCarthy B & B so I stopped and ordered a hamburgers thinking it would be ready when I returned with Sadie.  It was a really good burger(at should be at $14.95), but it took a really long time to cook.  The whole area is really laid back, and no one is in a hurry. ... obviously.  Dogs are allowed in the park and on the glacier, but its not a good idea if you are going out with a guide and if the dog has never been on the ice before, so I was told. 
When we got back to the B & B we couldn’t find the owner to check in.  It was about 7:00 and we used the phone to call him but he didn’t answer.  He had previously showed us which cottage would be ours so we checked it out.  It wasn’t locked and the beds were ready, so we made ourselves at home.  I figured he come and get payment at some time.  
Cottage at the McCarthy B & B.  Private shower and toilet were provided, unlike in most B & Bs.

Dining area.  You could cook your own food if you brought it.  Otherwise, breakfast cereal and coffee were provided.  You had to make your own coffee as the owner didn't know how to make it. 

The next morning we had to find the owner (I think we got him out of bed)  and checked out.  He didn’t seem to concerned that we had checked ourselves in.  

We spent the day visiting the old mill at Kennecott.  This time I took Sadie with me.  She road the shuttle and attended the movie and exhibits.  Dogs apparently are part of the landscape in Kennecott Historical Park.  (This is a first).  The Kennecott Mill served five copper mines in the early 1900's.  A railway was built to haul the copper to Cordova.  It was said to be the richest mother load in the US.  The mines closed around 1938 due to the war and decline of oar in the mines.  

Kennecott Mill

What is really interesting is that the glacier was actually taller than the mill and in the 1900s the residents looked across and up at the glacier.  

Dorms serving the employees.  2006 flood badly damaged them and the park service is in the process of restoring them.  

Managers building.  

The mill street in Kennecott

       Kennecott Glacier as seen from the foot bridge at the end of the road

  Part of the Wrangell range with Alaskan Fireweed. 

When we returned to Copper River Campground, our RVs were still there untouched.  No one had bothered them and I don't think anyone realized we had been gone.  

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