At Cooper Landing, Alan took a guided float trip on the Kenia River, a world class trout fishing experience. In this river, you are allowed to keep fish under 16" (and there aren't many that size) so it is all catch and release. He not only caught 2 nice trout but witnessed fishermen along the shore fishing side by side with a grizzly.
|Wrangel-St. Elias National Park|
Headed back into Yukon, and discovered Tachal Dhal (Sheep Mountain), over one hundred Dall Sheep dotted the face of the mountain. A special experience to watch them playing and grazing on the mountain sage. The highway meandered back into Alaska and our next destination, Haines. Hit the jackpot with the eagles and grizzlies. Both were totally oblivious to us, intend on their hunting. At times we were less than 30 feet from the grizzlies. They were small females (300-350 pounds). We would not have been so brazen if they had been 1000 pound males. It was a thrill to watch the grizzlies romp through the the river to ponce on the salmon. Definitely our ultimate wildlife experience.
We took a ferry to Skagway the next night. This town is the starting point of the White Pass Trail with nearby Dyea being the start of the Chilkoot Trail Skagway is now a tourist town but many of the old buildings from the gold rush days have been renovated by the US Park Service. We had planned to hike a portion of the Chilkoot Trail (full trail is 33 miles) but the rain has not stopped since Valdez and we are wimpy wilderness explorers.
Alaska is a state of superlatives. The tallest mountain in NA, Mount McKinley at 20,320 feet; the largest national park and preserve, Wrangel-St. Elias at 13.2 million acres; the biggest glacier field in NA, Malaspina at 1500 sq. miles (or bigger than the state of Rhode Island). The are 3,000,000 lakes and countless waterfalls. The wilderness is vast and awe inspiring. And then there is the food. We travel by our stomachs most of the time. We have experienced the ultimate oysters from Kachemak Bay and the tender, buttery razor clams from the Clam Gulch area. In Valdez, we purchased Dungeness crab and Alaskan king crab which were the epitome of what crab should be. Alaskan scallops were tender and sweet and will now be the scallop that we will compare all others to for the next 20 years. Maybe we get a little too excited about food, miracle we both don't look like manatees.