It was time to leave the quaint little town of McCarthy, but we didn't get to fly out the way we flew in. We walked across the footbridge, piled back into our van and headed towards Valdez. It was nice having an easy day after our big Bonanza Mine hike. The road from McCarthy follows the railroad tracks that were built to haul out the copper ore.
Here is one of the remaining railroad bridges. You can kind of imagine how long it would take them to build that bridge today. Two years for EPA studies. A year to bid it out. A year to debate the size, style and price. Then 2 years plus the extra year they hadn't planned on, to build it. When they were doing this 100 years ago, they built it in 11 days.
The road out of McCarthy is slowly being improved. Improved simply means nicer, smoother gravel instead of deeply rutted gravel. Unfortunately, if you drive on the edge of the newer and much looser gravel, bad things can happen. The irony is the tag line on the back of the rented camper: "Great Alaska Holidays". They probably aren't feeling the love as they dig out from under it. At some point during the day, they probably got pulled out by the DOT crew working with heavy equipment a few miles down the road.
- If you haven't been to Alaska, go! It is simply magnificent. It takes time to even begin to see part of it. Make it a long trip.
- Get Up and Go Tours provides an excellent, well thought out, very experienced trip.
- Consider blowing off the cruise. My favorite areas were the smaller, less traveled areas like Tangle Lakes and McCarthy. The cruise ships just dock at the ports.
- If doing this again, I think I would probably go in June or July instead of August. You get more people and more insects, but less rain.
- I would love to be able to do this trip again with a focus on photography. There was just so much beautiful scenery!