Sunday, July 27, 2008

Alaska '08 Day 42, Long Lake to Copper Center

Wed July 23, 2008

In the morning we took the kids for a ride in the canoe. We found some schools of larger trout. A loon came right up to the canoe, paddled around then dove under the canoe. The water was crystal clear and we could watch him swim underneath us, a better show than at an aquarium!

We headed out on the Glenn Highway for the Klutina (Copper Center). The Glenn Highway from Long Lake up to Sheep Mountain is a lot like the road from Poker Creek to Chicken, grades, sharp turns and sharp drop offs. The only difference is the road is paved. We couldn't make any time through here but it sure was picturesque.

There are great views of the Matanuska Glacier, the biggest glacier we have seen yet.

At Sheep Mountain we took a break to look for dall sheep. We spotted a group along the ridgeline with binoculars.

From Sheep Mountain to Glennallen is a high plain with only a couple small, isolated, rough looking communities. At Tahneta Pass, just beyond Sheep Mtn, the road is marked with tall reflectors for snow plows, they must get lots of snow across this plain in the winter. Lots of ATV trails and camps along here.

Glennallen is not much of a town. It's a long way from anything and pretty much a midpoint for travel Valdez to/from Anchorage or Fairbanks. Other than that there are a few sockeye/red and king salmon runs in the area in June and July.

We stayed in "King for a Day" campground in Copper Center. Kind of a rough campground, geared entirely for fishing. The sign below outside the shower says it all. People fish the banks for reds and kings and some jet boat guides operate out of here. The guides live in the campground all summer under some pretty rough conditions.

We needed to contact our king salmon guide and my brothers friends before we fish tomorrow. To give an idea of how spread out this area is we were down in Copper Center, we drove 20 minutes up to Glennallen to get a salmon tag then another 20 minutes up to the Gulkana to talk to the guide and another 10 minutes beyond to the Riverview B&B where my brothers co-workers are staying. It took us almost 2 hours to hit those 2 places and come back to the campground.

The Riverview B&B (at Gakona) where my brother's co-workers are staying is really nice. There are a lot of rough places here and this B&B is just out of place. The buildings, grounds and interior of this place are immaculate. The son of the owners traps in the winter and we had an interesting discussion about how he traps, lots of work in the worst temperatures.

We talked to some people in the campground, it sounds like the king run hasn't really started yet (pretty late).

116 miles today.

5971 miles so far.

- Jon


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