Monday, August 23, 2010

Blue Skies and Sunshine!

Tuesday morning (August 17th) I left Sue and Fred at the campground in Seward under cloudy, overcast skies and drizzling rain. They will be going to Haines, about 900 miles away, with a short visit to Juneau and Skagway before heading back through Canada to the Lower 48.

We had hoped to pay a visit to Exit Glacier but, due to all of the rain, the road to the glacier was closed on the day we arrived in Seward. It is one of the few glaciers in Alaska that is accessible by road and you can walk a short trail from the parking area up to the face of the glacier. That is, you can if the road is open! On Sunday (the 15th) they were evacuating everyone from the area.

I spent most of Tuesday at the Library getting blog posts written and scheduled and reading a few other blogs. I did take several walks around Seward in between the downpours. It was rather nice walking in a drizzling rain but a chill would set in and I'd head back to the Library! I also stopped in at Kenai Fjords Visitor Center to see if the road to Exit Glacier was open, it wasn't. That night I stayed at the Forest View Campground again. About 8 o'clock I noticed that patches of blue were peeking through the clouds.

Wednesday morning I awoke to sunshine and blue skies!! The road to Exit Glacier was only a few miles from the campground so I drove on out. There are several pullouts where you get a nice view of the glacier.

Exit Glacier. So close, yet so far away.

Two miles from the glacier the road was barricaded and a Ranger was directing traffic to the nearby trail parking lot. She said that there had been a tremendous amount of rain the past month over the glacier. It had gotten over 12 inches of rain on each of two different days! The glacier deposits silt in the river and as water comes down it carves new channels to get through that silt.

A new channel had been made and it was undercutting the road. Water was still flowing over the road so they could not determine the extent of the damage yet.

I could have walked the two miles to the parking lot and then another half mile to the face of the glacier. However, I would have had to ford the water streaming over the road and there was no guarantee that I'd actually be able to get to its face. I was happy that I had at least been able to view it, albeit from a distance, and decided to continue on my journey.

Later that afternoon I stopped at Bird Creek Campground in Chugach State Park along Turnagain Arm about 25 miles south of Anchorage. It is nice, for a primitive campground (pit toilets and no water). There were quite a few fishermen getting their lines wet at Bird Creek, which flows into Turnagain Arm.

The Alaska Railroad runs between the highway and Turnagain Arm.

The sunset Wednesday night was incredible. Clouds had moved in and the sun was having a great time in lighting them up!

To the Southeast.

And the Southwest.

And the West.


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