Sunday, June 5, 2016

Valdez Alaska—Mountains, Waterfalls & Eagles

Thompson Pass view, Richardson Highway near Valdez Alaska

As you reach the summit (Thompson Pass) headed to Valdez, you come upon one of the most spectacular mountain scene.  Thompson Pass is a 2,805 foot-high gap in the Chugach Mountains.  I was telling Marcia that one of the things that I find fascinating here in Alaska is the High Alpine type of scenery you see, yet you are really not at that high of an elevation.  The type of scene above can be seen in Colorado, for instance, but you are typically sitting at 6,000 feet or higher, with mountain peaks in the 14,000 feet range.  The highest point of the Chugach Mountains is Mount Marcus Baker, at 13,094 feet, but with an average elevation of 4,006 feet, most of its summits are not especially high…and you cannot see Mount Marcus Baker along the road to Valdez.

Bridal Veil Falls, Richardson Highway near Valdez Alaska

This is Bridal Veil Falls, less than 20 miles from Valdez, right along the Richardson Highway in Keystone Canyon.  At an elevation of 300 feet, the canyon walls raise nearly perpendicular, and the canyon is from 100 to 500 feet wide.  There are many temporary waterfalls along the route, but Bridal Veil Falls (above) and Horsetail Falls (below) are most prominent waterfalls in the Canyon.

Horsetail Falls, Richardson Highway near Valdez Alaska

We have driven many scenic routes during my lifetime…and now two new routes, the highway to Skagway and the highway to Valdez are now in the top tier of drives that I have done. 

Bald Eagle over Valdez Alaska

Now we did not even have to leave our home in Florida to see Bald Eagles…however, I have never seen so many Bald Eagles in one place.  I took this shot while sitting inside the motorhome, parked in Valdez, from my lounge chair.  In one shot, (below), I have four distinct Bald Eagles in the frame, with one more probable far off in the distance.  I don’t like the quality of the picture, but getting four Bald Eagles in one frame is something I could not pass up sharing…especially since I was just sitting in my chair looking out the window.

Bald Eagles over Valdez Alaska

We are staying three nights here at Valdez.  We have already eaten at Old Town Burgers, and it was real good.  I highly recommend the Clam Chowder Bread Bowl, and the Mushroom Bacon Swiss Burger…yes, had both, did not have lunch, and I am so stuffed!  Marcia ordered a burger and bread bowl too…all of her burger came home!  Winking smile  

For the rest of today’s travels, I will tell the story of today’s travels through pictures..

Willow Lake with Wrangell Mountains in background, Richardson Highway, Alaska


Willow Lake with Wrangell Mountains in background, Richardson Highway, Alaska






The sun, though 10 am in the morning, is still low on the horizon, playing havoc on the lens, so Black and White looks better than color.


Richardson Highway, Alaska

Richardson Highway, Alaska     Richardson Highway, Alaska

Richardson Highway, Alaska     Richardson Highway, Alaska

Richardson Highway, Alaska

Richardson Highway, Alaska     Richardson Highway, Alaska

Richardson Highway, Alaska

10 comments:

  1. I like that drive, but most times did it in Winter and the water falls freeze and very active people climb them like rock walls. You passed a section with white out guides, they really work to keep you on the road in blowing snow, which happens a lot there. Hope you get a few sunny days to explore. I was always happy when they would let me take the ferry to Whittier and then drive back to Anchorage, one work perk I miss.

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    1. I read where that pass is a very dangerous winter crossing.

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  2. Do hope you take a day boat tour out of Valdez and go to the fish hatchery and see the salmon being caught in the stream and the massive amounts of eagles in the area.

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    1. No day boat for Marcia (remember, she has MS), yes on the fish hatchery area for sure.

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  3. Loved it in Valdez!! Just wait ... there's even MORE eagles in Homer!!

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    1. We plan to be in Homer for a good week to ten days, good place to spend the 4th, as you know. ;)

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  4. Love the pictures of the Bald Eagles. Such beautiful scenery. Can only hope to get there one day.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. It is drizzle rain today, sounds like a good day to do laundry.

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  5. Beautiful pictures, even the one of the waterfall looking into the sun. Not easy to do. I'm really enjoying following along on your trip.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the scenery in Alaska is wonderful. It's not like every part of Alaska is out of this world beautiful, but everything is green, and the people have been wonderful. And then you come upon areas which just knock your socks off you because it is so very pretty.

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