Started with a shower (2 showers in 2 days while being on the road is certainly a luxury) and our free coffee before we hit the local IGA. It is amazing the difference in prices. We spent over $7 on a loaf of bread in Denali and here it was $5.50. Apples are $2.79 a pound, a head of romaine is $3.59. Chips are $5 and ramen is 80 cents. Needless to say, food is not cheap! We probably spent the same amount for 4 days worth of food in Glenallen as we did for 7-8 days of food at both the market and Costco in Anchorage.
Stopped at the main Wrangell-St. Elias visitor center and then headed out to McCarthy. We stopped at Liberty Creek State Rec Site for a break and to walk around the Liberty Falls. Another dirt road – this one 60 miles long but much more rutted and potholed. We had incredible views of the Chitna and Copper Rivers and passed numerous lakes and kettle ponds. There is a lot of private property interspersed along the road as you make your way back to the park. We drove over several old bridges that were originally used for the railroad that brought people back to this area during the copper boom. The road we traveled on is actually the old train route!
After being bounced around quite a bit, we made it to the Glacier View campground (view of Root Glacier). Took a walk across the bridge to where we will pick up the shuttle and had an even better view of the Root Glacier and the river. Got dinner together and of course we have more rain! It is really nice having the awning on the van as we were able to set up our chair and camping table and be dry.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is actually the largest national park in the parks system and also has the fewest visitors. At 13.2 million acres, it’s the same size as Yellowstone Nat. Park, Yosemite Nat. Park, and Switzerland combined! There are 2 main (read dirt) roads into the park and at 49 and 60 miles of dirt, it is understandable why there are so few visitors. Next time, I will definitely consider taking a small plane to McCarthy/Kennecott!