Northern Wanderers

Days 49-51 of Duane and Lynda Pilson’s northern adventure

The trip took us through valleys, forests, rivers, mountains and sparsely forested areas.

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Catching Fish on Seiner
Landing fish on a seiner. — Duane Pilson photo

It was cloudy when we left Palmer, but we were looking forward to the day’s drive, which would take us on a paved highway with an ever-changing landscape. We would see deep valleys, forests, rivers, mountains and sparsely forested areas. The day was great, with only an occasional shower and reasonably good roads—except for frequent stretches with frost heaves and a long stretch of construction leading into and through Glennallen. We stopped for lunch at the information centre at Glennallen.

Turning south on the Richardson Highway, we continued our journey to Valdez, stopping at the Worthington Glacier to see how much it has receded since our last visit in 2008. We were amazed to not only see how far it receded from our last visit, but especially how far from our first visit in 1996; really shows what global warming is doing.

We arrived at the Eagles Rest RV Park in Valdez and got set up for a good night’s rest, as we were booked to go out on Stan Stephens’ Mears Glacier Tour the next morning. What an experience it proved to be. We had perfect weather—sunny, clear skies and no wind. We were able to watch fishing boats doing purse seining and were lucky enough to see one of the boats dump its catch on board.

Like we did on our previous trip with Stan Stephens, we saw numerous sea otters, beautiful waterfalls, glaciers, a humpback whale and a number of sea lions resting on a buoy. The highlight of the tour was when we arrived at Mears Glacier, where we finally, after many trips, had the opportunity to see a large part of the glacier calf. What a spectacular and awesome experience.

While in Valdez we went to the Maxine and Jesse Whitney Museum. Although we had heard it was the largest collection of Alaskan artifacts in the world that they had donated to the Prince William Sound Community College, it was a pleasant surprise, as it surpassed expectations in not only content but the methods used in displaying the items. It is well worth taking the time to visit. This is one attraction we highly endorse and, believe it or not, it is free.

Whenever we have visited Valdez in the past we always took the time to visit the Halibut House for halibut and chips. This time was no exception, and the meal was good as usual.

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