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Thursday, August 8, 2013 Valdez to Chitina AK

We woke up to heavy fog and a temp of 51. We backed out of our site at 9:30, driving over to Valdez to dump and take on water. We drove north on Hwy. 4, the Richardson Hwy.. In Keystone Canyon, we stopped to look at the old railroad tunnel. The tunnel was hand chiseled out of the rock. The railroad never ran through this area. There was a gunfight over the railroad and the owners changed the location.

Railroad tunnel

We drove back up the seven and half miles over up over the Thompson pass. There was a truckers lane on the right, but it was so narrow, that we drove in the left lane. Fortunately, there was no one behind us!

We continued north. The farther north that we went, the brighter it became. We stopped for lunch at a pull-out. I drove from there. We turned east on the Edgerton Hwy. to go to Chitina, the last town before the McCarthy Hwy. The road was relatively straight, with frost heaves. We finally passed Three Mile Lake, then Two Mile Lake, and guess, what, we also passed One Mile Lake. The mileage refers to locations, not the length of the lake.

The town of Chitina( pronounced Chitna)  is very small, with a Post Office, Hotel/Restaurant and an art store! There is a liquor store and a small general store with groceries and gas.

We passed through town. Our destination is a free Alaska Dept. of Transportation campground, across the river, to the right of the Copper River Bridge. We had to pass through this rock to get there! It is narrower than it appears!

Entrance to Chitina, drove MH through this

Then drive down, on dirt road that eventually returned to being paved, across the bridge and into the campground. We quickly found a spot. We did not back into it, as it had soft sand, but the road was wide enough for us to pull in front of the site.

We set up camp, then returned to town. We could not find the Ranger Station, so we stopped in at the Post Office to ask for directions. The Postmistress told us that Earl, the Ranger, was in McCarthy, taking a day off. She did not think the station was open. We found the station, and sure enough, there was someone subbing for Earl! I stamped our Passport, bought a pin,  and we picked up maps of Kennecott and McCarthy. We took pictures of the town and returned  across the bridge. We turned left into the Native American campground across the road ( they charge for their sites, ours is free, both boon-docking) and went to look at a fish wheel. No fish, unfortunately! The Alaskan citizens can also dip net for salmon in this area, so we are lucky we found a free campsite. Might not have been able to if it were the weekend.

National Park Visitor Center

Above is the Ranger station and below are the old town buildings.

Old Town Chitina

Fish wheel

We returned to the motor home. A little after we arrived back, our neighbors from Valdez, Frank and Barbara showed up. They parked in back of us and we chatted for a while.

We sat our reading, as the weather turned sunny. We ate dinner and sat out until it became too cold.

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