Saturday, July 9, 2011

Valdez, Alaska

This past week our friends, Paige and Kyle, from back south came to visit us and this great state.  We had amazing weather.  I tried to inform them that it usually isn't as glorious and not rainy as they experienced, but I'm thankful that we had good weather to tote them around Alaska with.

We spent a good three days in Valdez, Alaska.  It's about 6 hours from Anchorage.  Home of the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill and the epicenter of the 1964 Alaska Earthquake that destroyed so much of this state.  It's now this quaint little fishing town in the middle of no-where Alaska.  

I would like to try to give you a small glimpse of rural Alaska. 
Since my bladder inside my preggo body was about to explode, I had to stop.  I'm not beneath going in the woods (did that too on this trip), but toilets are always better in my book.
Sadly, this is one of the ONLY restrooms on our 6 hour journey. It's not like every hour or two you pass through a small down with a Dairy Queen (though I kinda miss those days).  There is nothing.
When the lady told me to pick up the bucket...I was a little concerned.  Thankfully it just held the toilet paper and there was this lovely "moving" outhouse we could utilize.  Wonderful.
This is where we ate dinner.  About half way there is this booming town called GlennAllen.  We were instructed we needed to stop there and fill up with gas and eat dinner as it was our last opportunity. It had 3 restaurants. Three.  I know this as a fact, because we stopped and asked a local when we didn't see anything.  Options: a local inn's restaurant, a Thai place in a van (literally), and The Freeze.  Guess where we ate.
The drive was absolutely stunning.  Steep mountains for hours and hours in every direction.  Huge waterfalls.  That highway is where they film some of the Chevy commercials.  There is a reason for that.
When we finally arrived, we set up camp here.
Pretty swank (especially compared to the rest of the town).  It worked out well that Matt's work has an office there with a 2 bedroom apartment above it that was available for us to stay in.  Couldn't get better.
Out on the porch there was a view of the harbor and all the fishing boats.  We were able to watch the charters come in and see them clean and gut their gigantic fish.
This is a cleaning station.  We made sure to crowd around and watch after we'd already eaten.
We even got a glimpse of a full rainbow. I don't know if I've ever actually seen one.  The even cooler part was that the end of the rainbow landed where there used to be a whole bunch of gold mines. Coincidence? I think not.
We adventured out on a hike one day through this amazing, lush valley.  I'm pretty sure they need to come film Jurassic Park 4 there.
And of course enjoyed some more waterfalls.
And the best part...we saw our first grizzly bear!!  First we saw the mama (behind us) and then a baby a little bit later.  We were driving, so I did not feel threatened since the car was just a stride away for safety if needed.  It was amazing.  As afraid of bears as I am...I do hope that's the only way I see them. Not stranded on a trail by our lonesomes.
And just in case you want a close up.  Yep, it's eating a fish.  I took like a million pictures.
On the drive back we stopped and hiked up to one of the many icebergs we saw along the way.  They are gigantic and sadly quickly melting away. 
That was our trip to Valdez.  The following days we spent biking, grilling out and venturing up to Denali (aka Mt. McKinley) to ride some ATVs.  But alas, I forgot my camera for that.  It was great mini vacation!

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