Valdez - July 16-22

Thursday, July 16, 2009
Valdez, Alaska, United States
Valdez is a beautiful location right on the water surrounded by mountains with a harbor full of boats—a fisherman's dream!
Northern Nights Campground:  Can't beat the mountain views from the window of the RV.
The first few days were very cloudy; then we had rain the rest of the time; just a light sprinkle on and off. It amazes us that these dreary days can produce such stunning views of the clouds around the mountains; they are different every time you look. Apparently, rain is the norm for Valdez so we did our activities like the locals—in the rain.
Visitor Information Center is very small.
The Ice Age gift shop next door is really nice; the best stone carvings we’ve seen.  
Drove Dayville Road to Allison Point almost every day to see the wildlife and fishing.
The first time we went, it was low tide and there were lots of eagles in the trees next to the road and in the flats. Spent a long time trying to get good eagle pictures. Met a man photographing eagles who is from Whiskey Creek in Ft. Myers.  

Lots of people were fishing for pink salmon.  Everyone coming back to the parking lot had their limit of six. 
At high tide, the salmon were there by the hundreds right next to the shore. There were about six sea lions feeding on the salmon as well as a few seals. The sea lion would come up out of the water with a fish and shake its head—sure was fun watching this!  
Eagles would swoop down occasionally; watched two soar together—spectacular! There is even a waterfall right there.  People told us about a bear that came a couple times a day to feed on the salmon; never saw it. We did see a baby bear running through the meadow on one of the drives to Allison Point.
Drove around the town, out Blueberry Hill road and Mineral Creek road--turned around at the bridge—people we talked to said lots of cars use the bridge and continue along the dirt road, through the creek, and walk the ridge trail. 

Walked Dock Point Trail with with our TN friends. Good views of the duck flats, Valdez Bay, and the Port of Valdez.
Lots of ripe salmon berries and even some blueberries; what a treat eating fresh wild berries!  
Fireweed was everywhere; sure is spectacular looking. Watched an ermine scamper in and out of his rock house.  
Ate at The Harbor Café—shrimp & halibut baskets (not very good; heavy coating and cooked too much—good coated fries).

Drove Valdez Glacier Road to end; could see only the toe that comes down to the water. Good view of the higher Camicia Glacier.    
Spent a long time at the Crooked Creek Chugach Visitor Center talking to Kelsey and Kody, college students working there. They told us all kinds of information about the area--different kayak trips, showed us the tiny pine cones on the Alder tree, and a type of Willow tree that forms a rose at the end of the branch. You can chew the willow leaf until it's sort of a paste and put it on bug bites to stop the itching. 

Then she took us behind the center to see the Crooked Creek Waterfall and the trail that goes up beside it. Beautiful—different levels, a flat pool area that you could wade in if it weren’t ice cold water. Salmon berries here too.

During all the rain, we had a great time playing Pegs & Jokers with our TN friends. The awning over the picnic table and 2 little electric heaters worked great at keeping us dry and warm. Sure was fun seeing whether the girls or guys won!
The Sugar & Spice shop shows movies about "Making of the Pipeline" and “1964 Earthquake” that are very informative and good to do on a rainy day.  
There was a great 360 degree view of the area at the top of Overlook Trail; too bad it was such a rainy day.
Our TN friends left to head back to the States. We are sure going to miss traveling with them; had lots of good food and laughs together. They will be coming to Florida this winter so it won’t be long before we see them again.
Valdez Glacier Guided Kayak. Spent our last day in Valdez on a trip among the icebergs and ice caves. 

Had on so many layers of clothes we could hardly move. Good thing, though, because there was a constant light rain all day.  

Kayaked into a dome-like cave first; then into a small cave—one kayak at a time. Kayaking into this V-shape in the ice that was like a huge crevice of blue ice was so SPECTACULAR! 

Being right next to huge icebergs was such an incredible experience--one of the highlights of our Alaska trip. 
FuKung Chinese restaurant - too tired to cook (we’ll use any excuse to go out to eat); food very good.
Tour boat through Prince William Sound was on our agenda. The weather forecast was rain for the next week. The tour boats were cancelled because of small craft warnings and it didn’t sound like it would be getting much better.   Guess we'll have to skip this tour and end our stay in Valdez.
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