Valdez July 22-27, 2016
We only spent 4 full days/5 nights in Valdez. We could have stayed longer, but the cloudy and rainy weather got old. We did see most of what we wanted to see, however we did not take a boat cruise to see whales and glaciers.
The day we arrived in Valdez, we parked at a really nice boondocking spot with a very nice view of the bay.
(I forgot to take a pic of the BD spot but found this pic from Google Earth)
We had a quiet afternoon until about 7:30pm, just as we were ready to eat supper. There was a knock on the door and a uniformed safety ranger was there to tell us the chief of police didn’t want people to be parking overnight here. We were in Old Town Valdez a sensitive area. No we couldn’t just move early in the morning. We could finish supper and then move though.
It’s not as though there is anything left from the old town. It was just grassy, rocky and muddy fields. Every thing from the old town had been demolished and/or moved away after the 1964 earthquake and tsunami.
Instead of trying to drive around the area looking for someplace to move to, I just moved us across the road, to kind of an out of obvious sight spot. No more problems through the night.
I have to admit sitting on that open gravel spit, we were at earlier, we really stood out and probably were a glaring sight.
In the morning I did some reconnoitering and found a very nice gravel spot on the edge of the Valdez Glacier Stream along the Glacier Haul Dump road (the road to the trash dump for Valdez). GPS: 61.11825 -146.22163
We stayed at this quiet and scenic boondock spot for our remaining 4 nights in Valdez.
Because of the cloudy and rainy weather we didn’t do as much sightseeing and take as many pictures as I normally would.
We did drive back up to Thompson Pass and Worthington Glacier and here are a few pictures from that 3 hour drive.
Waterfalls along Keystone Canyon on the way to Thompson Pass. Both are more impressive in the spring with more water flowing.
Bridal Veil Falls
A glacier at Thompson Pass
And a couple of pictures of Worthington Glacier
For some beautiful spring time pictures of the waterfalls and Thompson pass in the spring go to Bob McQuade's blog .
There are three excellent museums in Valdez, all worth taking the time to visit.
The Old Town Valdez Museum on Haselet
Lots of history and excellent displays of Old Town Valdez, the Good Friday 1964 Earthquake and the history of the area. They have a 1/20th scale model of Old Town Valdez as it was before the earthquake.
Valdez Museum on Egan
This museum covers the history of Valdez and the area, including: early exploration, native culture, gold rush, founding of Valdez, the Richardson Highway, the history of the pipeline, the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, and the history of Alaska Bush pilots.
This museum is one large room with all the Alaska things that Maxine collected throughout her life in Alaska.
Quote about the museum and collection from Wikipedia:
"Prince William Sound Community College is home to the Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum. The museum houses one of the largest collections of Native Alaskan art and artifacts in the world.
Coming to Alaska in 1947, Maxine opened a gift shop. She traveled around the state to Native villages purchasing works directly from artists, basket weavers and furriers, to later be sold in her store; she continued to gather items into the 1980s. The Eskimo Museum in Fairbanks came under ownership of Maxine in 1969. Ms. Whitney donated her collection of art and artifacts to PWSC in 1998, and it now resides on the main campus.
Exhibits include masks, dolls, fur garments, various sizes of ivory and baleen with scrimshaw work. There are also Alaska wildlife mounts, including a moose and a polar bear; along with other exhibits on Alaska and its rich history. The Whitney Museum is open year round."
Solomon Fish Hatchery
We also visited the Solomon Fish Hatchery in Valdez. The two main attractions are seeing all the Salmon coming up this little stream and then trying to work up the fish ladder into the hatchery and seeing the Grizzly bears coming to feed on the salmon coming up the stream. Unfortunately the bears were not around while we were there.
The Salmon are so thick in some areas you can almost walk on them w/o touching the bottom of the steam.
Links to more info about the Hatchery, here and here
Next we are heading to McCarthy and Kennecott Mines National Historic Area.