Tuesday, June 20, 2017

just back from Kennicott....and more from Round Island

 hopelessly behind on pictures...i still have Iditarod pics i never posted.  haha.  i have my little bits of paper telling me where i am and when life slows a bit hopefully i can catch up.  my big trips are pretty much done for the summer.  now just local stuff and road trips with the puppies i'm guessing.
 Kennicott has been on my list. seems like everyone has been there except me so i finally got that box checked. it's well worth it if you haven't gotten there yet. very popular with local Alaskans.  so last year i got to Spencer Glacier finally and now this one.
 mostly the first day these guys were doing swim by's on the flat rock.  still fun to listen to chiming and below you can see the air sacks blown up
 back in Anchorage a young 16 year old sadly lost his life to a black bear mauling. we may never know what happened there.  he was in a mountain running race and i've heard at some point he may have texted family to say he was being chased by a bear. he was found but the bear was still around.  the bear was apparently shot in the face but was able to run off.  the trail is closed until they can locate bear.
 runners tend to be quiet and running to a bear can bring on that prey drive i'd think.  it was also a race so lots of people out there.  in one article they say that with so many people the bears would tend to stay away.  true...but it could also be irritating to a bear who wants to get from one place to another or is hungry and feeling trapped by all the humans out there.  on a normal day there are breaks when the humans aren't around which would allow bears to move more freely.
 it appeared from one article i saw the trolls were out there judging and commenting irrationally.  the bottom line is a 16 year old is gone and it's sad.  my heart goes out to him as that would be a horrible death and my heart goes out to his family who have to live with that visual of the horrible death in addition to just the loss of a loved one. there apparently was another black bear attack this week at Pogo mine facilities.  one dead and one injured, so my thoughts to those families and friends as well.  last week 3-4 teen/young adults were attacked by a grizzly mother.  all with minor injuries.  so the bears are active again and it doesn't always go well.
 no phone coverage in Kennicott again.  had some spotty wifi coverage at the hotel.  i stayed at the Kennicott Lodge.  they take very good care of their guests.  i got a combo room and food package.  food was good. felt like i was back on the cruise ship.  haha.  they do dinner family style so nice to chat with the other guests.
 it is a long drive out there.  past Chitina the road is less maintained though actually pretty good.  it has a history of causing flat tires but i think it's improved over the years...or maybe most of the nails have already punctured tires and therefore have been removed from the road.
 you get to the end of the road before you get to the towns of McCarthy and Kennicott.  at the end of the road you haul your gear across a foot bridge over the river there.  the hotel drives the 5 miles from Kennicott to McCarthy to pick you up.
 right by the mines is a huge moraine from two glaciers that are visible from town. i guess the kids that grew up in that town had a reunion several years back and were surprised to see a mountain range beyond the moraine.  apparently, the ice has really receded and the town used to be dwarfed by the moraine.
 spent Sunday walking out to the root glacier.  you can access it and it's pretty safe to walk on in that area. i'd brought my basic cleats and those were fine for what i did. you can pay to rent cleats and have a guided trek out there.  it was a good 2 mile walk each way.  it was hot out (hot in AK anyway).  i do not tolerate heat like i did as a kid.  i was pretty tired after the walk and the glacier walk and some trekking down the trail further.
 after lunch i took the mine tour, which was interesting and then i took a shower before dinner so i could cool off. just felt sweaty and dirty.  today i just headed out.  i drove part way to Valdez but then they were doing road work with longer delays and it was getting windy and rainy.  rather than get stuck on the return trip i opted to just spin around and try for Valdez again on another trek this summer when the weather is hopefully a bit better.  missed the pups anyway.
 they missed me too apparently and about killed me trying to be near me when i got home.
 lots of heaves and dips in the roads today.  i kind of feel like i've been on a boat at times.  left at 9:30 am and got home at 8:30 pm....with stops of course.  i had to stretch a lot.  sitting in the car for hours is not easy.
 stopped at Worthington Glacier. seems to have receded a great deal over the years.  will have to look for old pics i took and see how it looked then. if i remember right it was pretty rainy that day as well.
 not too many mosquitos out there, lots of little biting flies though.
 dogs were barking...not sure what at.  looks like a pretty sunset out there though. too tired to go hunt down a photo op.  it's raining a bit out there anyway.
 i had debated staying overnight in Valdez.  happy to be home though. so we have 2 days of walking together before i head back to work.  hope we don't have any bear encounters.  there is some risk anywhere you live i guess.  my brothers wife was saying there are like 7 kinds of rattlesnakes in CA.  not too keen on snakes either. the south has alligators and crocodiles.  always risk in this world.  do the best you can to avoid them and hope for the best i guess.
 headed over towards the sea lions on this walk. snapped pictures along the way.
 not sure the pups are going to settle very easy tonight.  they were so excited when i got home.  Ivy was in her spot in my bedroom window.  i could see her whole body wagging.  haha
 my windshield which is already all cracked up took another hit from a rock.  i need to reschedule the new windshield before this one falls out completely. nice to have it working well and happy to have good brakes for the drive.
 flowers along the way out on the island.  lots of lupine along the drive this weekend.
 cool rocks

 trails and views.
 i believe these are the State flower.
 how could you not love these.
 that is as wide as the trails get really out there.
 had several trails to choose from this past weekend.  there are two trails that go pretty much up,up and more up to the mine sites.  they would collect the rock at a few different location and then get them down to Kennicott where they would break them down and get the copper out of them.
 they had to built a rail system to get the copper out of the valley there. not an easy or cheap undertaking. their work paid off.  i think the mine operated for 20-30 years.  the price of copper dropped off and they later just abandoned the mine thinking they may return if/when the price went back up.
 they have refurbished several of the buildings for history, some others are totally collapsed.
 fiddleheads. edible and liked by many. i've never tired them.
 it's a bit of a trek over to the other end of the island to view the sea lions.  well worth it though.
 liked how this rock is just sitting here.
 looking from the viewpoint at the other end of the island from the dragons spine...sea lion territory

 you can see them down there.
 not sure if that darker color one is the one CA sea lion that's been hanging or if it just came out of the water....clearly, my sea lion identification skills are lacking.

 quite a few of them down there.  fun to watch.  very active.
 i am tired after driving all day and well, a lot of driving all weekend.
thankful for:  A.  safe journeys to/from Kennicott  B.  new experiences C.  that i wasn't a miner at the turn of the century.  looks like tough work in difficult conditions.

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