Day 34, Tuesday, 5/22/18
McCarthy, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

It's a beautiful, warm morning in McCarthy. Slept well in the wonderful cabins that Livy and Mark have designed. We had breakfast at the Potato, then set off to catch the shuttle to Kennecott. It's about 5 miles from McCarthy to the mining town.

Chris and Paul
Glen and Chris
Glen and Paul

Kennecott was abandoned in 1938 after the copper mine was no longer profitable. Because of the transportation costs to and from the mine, just about everything was left in place when the mine shut down - mining equipment and dinner plates at the table. In 1978, the park started restoring the town.

Processing Plant (top right)
We poked around a bit then began our hike to the Root glacier, some 2 miles away. To our left, just south of Root's toe and Donaho Mountain there was a large ice field formed from the confluence of the Root and Kennecott glaciers. The ice field looked like a large gravel bed, but it's really ice covered by dirt.


As we approached the glacier, the trail descended to a spot where it looked like the boundary of the ice. We stopped to put on crampons for the hike on to the ice.

Rock Meets Ice!
Putting on Crampons
We walked up dirt covered ice to where the ice was clear and had a bite to eat. Chris decided to hang out while Glen and I went exploring. Everything I've read about glaciers is that you have to be careful where you step. The ice we were on was solid with small lines where crevasses had closed up. Somewhat intimidating! One of the perks of hiking further onto the glacier is drinking water that's thousands of years old. We wanted to fill the water bottles, but left them with Chris!

On the Ice
Glen Drinking 1000+ Year Old Glacier Water
We were walking on the toe of the glacier. Off in the distance, we could see the Stairway Icefall - over a mile high, almost as big as the infamous Khumbu Icefall and very dangerous)

Stairway Icefall
After our exploratory walk, we started back to Kennecott to catch the shuttle. Rain threatened, but cleared up.

Chris Heading Back
Others Hiking Root

Once back in McCarthy, we sat down to a seafood feast (native crab, scallop and shrimp), courtesy of Glen, cooked by Ian and the Potato staff. Thank you everyone. The customers all tried to order some too! Mighty fine finish to a great day!

Such a highlight to a wonderful trip to McCarthy. So far, this has been the highlight of the trip.

No comments:

Post a Comment