‘Welcome to Alaska!’ the sign said. ‘Have another puncture!’ the car said. ‘Have a nice day!’ the customs officer didn’t say. It was raining. All day. No bears. We knew the tent was packed up soggy as it had rained all night and with motels near Glennallen asking well over $100 it was time to toughen up and go with what we had signed up for. We located a wild spot on ioverlander, somewhat muddier and with more rubbish than the previous occupants had mentioned but put the tent up, the awning out and cooked up a couple of cans of stew and suddenly all was a bit better with the world. It even stopped raining!
The road into Valdez was stunning, through the Thompson Pass and the unexpected sunshine made it even better.
Quick pause to hike up above the Worthington Glacier followed by the unbridled joy of a proper shower at a proper campsite, and clean clothes via the laundry, notwithstanding the noise of the V8 engines on the highway 50m away and the dog pound next door.
Having looked at the weather we debated kayaking and/or a boat trip and eventually decided on a trip on the LuLuBelle – Kayaking will come later. Capt’n Fred (provided a virtual 8 hr nonstop commentary) took us on a grand tour of Prince William Sound, including navigating through icebergs to within 250m of the face of the Columbia Glacier. En route we saw humpback whales, sea otters and sea lions galore, puffins – both horned and tufted and ice calving off the face of the glacier into the sea. Finished the day with a slap up thaw out meal at Old Town Burgers – to be recommended.
As we left Valdez we stopped at their salmon hatchery and were lucky enough to see our first grizzly, plucking his lunch from the sea. Later we also bagged our first moose. Wildlife viewing looking up again.
Have since continued along and south, past Anchorage – another wild camp where we had a black bear come within 50m of us on the road as we had brekkie, and onto Homer – the halibut fishing capital of the world. We are the only people here who don’t fish (other than the girl in the tourist information place). We were briefly swayed after a few shandies by our taxi driver – but at 200 bucks for a half day, our desire to catch a chicken (apparently a halibut between 20-30lb) waned…. and the boats were fully booked til Friday. A small miscalculation between miles and kms lead to a rather longer than expected walk to the end of the spit but we appreciated the beers (and the company of Pattie and Bill, from San Diego who we hope to meet again later) in the Salty Dawg saloon and excellent supper in Captain Pattie’s all the more for it.