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Tuesday, August 6, 2013- Valdez AK

We woke up to a white out. We could see the motor home and trailer next to us and that was about it. We could not even see the water, right in front of the motor home. I worked on the blog, as I’m running way behind, and Bob made dog food. The temp was 51 when we woke up this morning!

After lunch we went to town. Since we are on the far side of the bay, we had to travel 5 miles back to Hwy. 4, The Richardson Hwy. then south for 5 miles to town. Valdez is located in a fjord. The Chugach mountains are on three sides. The mountains lift to the sky at 8,000 ft. As a result, the clouds and storms from the ocean get stuck in the fjord creating fog and low hanging clouds. We have seen some patches of blue sky, but mostly we have had fog and low hanging clouds.

Our first stop in Valdez was at the Old Town Valdez site. When the 1964 earthquake and tsunami occurred, it wiped out the old town. The town was established in 1897-98 as a port of entry for the gold seekers to the Klondike gold rush. Following that, there were copper discoveries in the Wrangell mountains to the north. People who came to the areas for the gold and the copper were swindled here, as everywhere.


Old town, located four miles from the current town was wiped out by the tsunami, killing 33 of the residents who were on the dock at the time.The Army Corp. of Engineers decided that the town should be built in the current location. We are not sure why, as both are at sea level. This occurred in August of 1964 and the last of the old residents moved in 1967. The old town is now deserted, with no buildings and just bushes. There were two monuments at the concrete slab site of the old Post Office, which had been built in 1963, just prior to the earthquake. The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred 33 miles from the town in 1977.

We continued into town, stopping at the Visitor Center. We were not impressed! They had nothing there. We continued on to the Library. In Mileposts, they stated that there was a book exchange. We took 29 books and left 23, all that I had with me! The librarian said that was okay, they needed to get rid of some extra. I tried to give them some DVD’s, but they said they did not want them.

We drove up to the Convention Center, high up on a bluff. The view was awesome, although we are not sure why any conventions would come here, unless the conventioneers just want to fish. We returned and went to look at the Peter Toth Indian Carving. Peter Toth has Indian Carvings all over the country, one of which is in Topeka KS, which Bob knew about from his childhood.

Peter Toth Indian Carving- Valdez aK

We went up to the Valdez Glacier. During the gold rush, the miners had been erroneously told, by people trying to fleece them, that they could hike over the Valdez Glacier, as the shortest way to the Klondike gold fields. It did not seem to occur to any of these idiots that if there was gold just sitting on the ground to be picked up that someone else who lived here wouldn’t have just picked it up already. So these folks rushed here to climb the glacier. They faced dangerous crevasses, snow blindness and exhaustion. Plus there was no way through the glacier to the Klondike. Later, a two horse wide path was cut through the mountains. Currently, the survival of the town is based on oil, the salmon fishery, government and tourism. Since there is not much to see here, the tourism is last on the list!

Valdez Glacier

We returned to the motor home. Since it was high tide, we stopped at the Salmon Hatchery to look at the salmon on the way. We find it odd that they have the hatchery at this location. Right next to the hatchery is a fast moving stream, which dead ends in a few feet at a waterfall. They put up the gate to keep the fish from trying to enter the stream to spawn. They are trying to move the fish off to the far side, into the hatchery to spawn. The fish are all confused and many( as in hundreds) die trying to get up the stream.

Salmon trying to get to the hachery to spawn

Salmon returning to spawn

Salmon at the hatchery

Bob decided to take a nap. I noticed that the sky was clearing so I went out to take pictures. I quickly noticed a school of seals and otters, frolicking in the water. Bob eventually joined me to watch them play.

Sea Otters playing in front of the motor home

Sea Otter in front of motor home Valdez

Two sea otters in front of the  motor home

Sea Otter right in front of motor home

Sea Otter in front of the motor home

Sea Otter in front of the motor home

We ate dinner and returned to the hatchery. We are hoping to see some bears coming down to eat the salmon, but so far we have not been successful.

We were able to spot these three eagles, two parents and one youngster.

Eagle- Valdez

Eagle- Valdez

Eagle- Valdez

We returned to the motor home and watched Clint Eastwood in True Crime. Not as good as Absolute Power, but not bad!

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