Little Switzerland

August 21, 2012

I’ve been informed that my blogs are beginning to come across as tourist guides, so I’ll try to sprinkle in some personal stuff as well.

In the early morning we hike down the path to Paxon Lake and Dick tries his luck at fishing.   We enjoy this campground, so we don’t depart until noon and head the RV toward Valdez.

The Richardson highway takes us to Valdez, but before we arrive, there is a stop at the National Park and Preserve where we are treated to a spectacular view of the Wrangell/St. Elias Mountain Range.

A brief walk through the museum, a film about the park and a talk from one of the rangers and we continue on our way.

Parts of this road are in poor condition and covered with gravel and as hard as Dick tries to avoid the rocks, a truck on the opposite side of the highway kicks up a pebble, cracking our windshield.  Dick seals it with some super glue to keep it from spreading but it will more than likely need replacing when we return.

As we turn corners in the road, exquisite mountains come into view and the Worthington Glacier.  How can we pass this by?  There is a trail and then a steep climb alongside the glacier, but doable.  Two waterfalls are nearby and Dick stoops over and picks up a chunk of glacier ice and says “I heard somewhere that if you lick this, you may live to be 1000 years old.”  He carries it back to the overlook where we take photos of its glimmering shape, carries it to our RV, wraps it in a plastic bag and places it in our small refrigerator next to the ice compartment.

Bridal Veil Falls and Horsetail Falls upon entering the town remind me of Yosemite, but these cascades are extremely close to the roadway, making it an easy stop for photos.

Valdez is often called “Alaska’s Little Switzerland” and I understand why.  Both Dick and I fall in love with this town where the 5,ooo ft. tall Chugach Mountains rise from the Prince William Sound.

Discovering the Bayside RV Park, located near the small boat harbor, we set up for the night.

Across the street is a small diner where we order from a counter and wait for our number to be called.  I see a lady across from us, who is alone so I ask her to join us at our long wooden table.  As she climbs over the seating bench, I notice a bronze badge affixed to her flower print blouse that identifies her as Sharon.  She has copper colored hair, green eyes and I guess her age to be somewhere in the 50’s.  Over her grilled halibut sandwich, Sharon tells us she is a tour bus driver and escorting a group of 8, all from France, through various towns in Alaska.  It is fun to compare stories with her and have some female conversation for a change.

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