Thursday, June 29, 2017

Rainy Alaskan Weather

Glennallen to Valdez:  119 miles

The road between Glennallen and Valdez was not bad. 

The day started with partially cloudy skies. That means it was also partially blue and sunny.

We stopped to take pictures at Bridal Veil Falls. 

See those small spots of red at the bottom?

I was told they were a group of local teenagers on a river rafting adventure, by one of the other people taking pictures from the road.

This is the Lowe river where they were rafting, and the road we were driving. 

The sheer rock walls are also amazing. We think the river-side wall was natural, but we could see the tool marks where the road-side wall was carved away.

Road construction can be unbelievable.

The  foothills of the distant mountains are a lush green. Snow still clings to some of the higher places. The closer we went toward the coast, the lower the cloud cover came. The entire landscape reminded me of scenes out of the Lord of the Rings movies. I think they were filmed on New Zealand's South Island.

This is one of several melting glaciers we saw. I wonder how long it will last.

This was another.

We took our time traveling north through British Columbia because I really hoped to get past the usual rainy weather typical of June in Alaska. We have seen a lot of overcast skies, but not much daytime rain. Until we arrived in Valdez.  When I expressed dismay about the rain, the owner of the park we are at said "Welcome to the coast."

Even the dandelions kept their flowers closed.

I checked the national weather forecast and it predicts either chance of rain or rain likely for the next four days. Ugg!  I hope we can find some interesting indoor activities, and that there will be enough breaks in the fog to be able to see the surrounding mountains.

On the other hand, we are both happy it is not HOT! I'd much rather be in an Alaskan rain shower than a killer heat wave like much of the country suffered last week. 

Something in-between would be nice.  

Wednesday in Valdez 

I was very happy it was not raining Wednesday. 

I wouldn't describe the day as sunny, but it was dry. 

We can see both of these mountains from the dining table in the Alfa. It is quite interesting to see the clouds play around the peaks.

Craig said he really likes the rough velvet texture of the vegetation.

Knowing the break in the rain might not last,  we decided to do a couple of outdoor things. In a tourist brochure I had picked up there was mention of a Fish Hatchery, an oil pumping station, and the location of "Old Valdez" all on the same road, about seven miles out of town.

There wasn't much to see at the hatchery because there were no fish. Everyone, even the eagles are waiting for the fish. The "run" could start any day, and when it does, apparently the waters are alive with salmon wanting to go upriver to spawn.

The only thing at the hatchery that seemed to be set up was this weir:

Located at the mouth of the river it forces the salmon into a channel that guides them to the hatchery. There they are forcibly spawned and the resulting offspring are raised and released back into the ocean. 

When I took this picture, I knew I would call it "Waiting for the fish." I talked to this guy's wife, and she told me she knew they had come too early, but he wanted to get a good spot. There were only a few older RVs parked along the road and they all had Alaska license plates.

Look! Almost sunny!

Not far from the hatchery the road ended at the entry to the oil pumping station. But we did not venture in to explore because we were warned off by the "Do Not Trespass" and "FBI warning." It was not a tourist attraction.

We stopped at the Old Valdez site, and read a few of the posters. There is really nothing much to see. The town was destroyed in the big Alaskan earthquake in 1964. Some of the remaining buildings were moved a few miles away to the present location. 

Then we went back to town, bought some donuts and relaxed in the Alfa for the rest of the day. 

Just living. 
Waiting for the fish. 


  1. The Road to Valdez was our most favorite in all of Alaska. Do NOT miss the boat to the big glacier, Columbia. It is worth every penny, experience of a lifetime. Don't miss it. It was rainy when we were in Valdez, but it cleared in between, and we had the very best salmon and halibut bought directly from the fish seller right there on the pier.

    1. We have booked our tour with Stan Stephens for an all day trip on the 5th. I'm not sure if the Columbia is his boat or not, but we are looking forward to it. I just hope it clears when our daughter and family come because they will only be in Alaska for a week. Fresh fish again tomorrow.

  2. A few days to recharge might be just what you need. At least you have internet.

  3. I looked up the town on Wikipedia to find out why an Alaskan town is named "Valdez" (named after a Spanish naval minister), and saw that June is the driest month of the year there! Hopefully, you'll get some better weather.

    1. The Spanish had a short career in Alaska, between when the British "discovered" it and when the Russians occupied it. FWIW, I've seen the Spanish spelling for the town as "Valdes".

  4. Are you using the Tour Saver Book? Some great bargains. Becki


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