Last weekend we took a trip down to Valdez. It has been on our Alaska bucket list for a while and we were excited to cross it off. The drive took about 6 hours and followed the Trans-Alaska pipeline. The pipeline is 800 miles (1,300km) long and runs from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. There were a few areas where we could stop and touch it.
We stopped at Worthington Glacier to hike. One of our goals for this weekend was to touch a glacier. We decided to hike the ridge line. Huge mistake! It was narrow. It was high. It was steep. It had drop offs that would have seriously maimed, if not out right killed us, if we had fallen. Someone had her fear of heights resurface about half way up the ridge line. There may have been crying (okay there was definitely crying). Thankfully, Husband was very patient and understanding and we turned around.
The ridge line. Nope. Nope. Nope.
After our failed attempt to touch a glacier, we headed down the road to Valdez. We spent a few hours at the Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery on the edge of Port Valdez. If you ever visit Valdez, this place is a must do! Since it is the middle of July, the pink salmon were running. We watched them try to swim up the weir in an attempt to return to the hatchery where they were born. There were also sea lions, sea otters, and harbour seals swimming in the bay. We watched these sea animals feed on the salmon. We were hopeful that a bear would show up for some dinner, but no such luck. We also spent all day Saturday sitting at the bay, watching and waiting. It was amazing to watch the tide come in, then go out, then come back in again. We stood on the beach and watched harbour seals playing. I tried to come up with a plan to capture and bring a sea otter home - I really want one for a pet.
Harbour seals playing
If you listen at the beginning, you can hear the sounds the sea lions make.
In front of a Whispering Giant sculpture. It was carved in sitka spruce and is 25 feet tall.
The Valdez Harbour
This water is flowing from the glacier. Those chunks of ice came from the glacier. It is grey because of all the sediment.
We had to head home on Sunday. Along the way we made a few stops for pictures.
And, of course, since we were driving right past Worthington Glacier, we had to stop and try again to touch it. This time we took an easier path. In about 10 minutes we were at the glacier, and there was no crying!
On our way back to the car, we heard a loud BOOM! We turned around just in time to see a huge chunk of ice fall of the glacier. Husband said "That looks like it fell from right by where I was standing!" We headed back to the glacier to see if he was correct. This is what greeted us.
After - you can see the chunk that fell. And see that cave? That's where Husband was standing about 15 minutes before the glacier calved.
We loved our time in Valdez and are already making plans to visit again, only hopefully without the crying and the almost dying on a glacier parts.