We were up early and ready to be on the road to Valdez. After reading so many wonderful things about Valdez, we were anxious to get there. It was only 120 miles away and ended up being one of the most beautiful drives.
Valdez has one of the most picturesque settings in Alaska nestled under some of the world's tallest coastal mountains on the shores of Valdez Arm. It is North America's northernmost ice-free, deep water port. It is on an arm of Prince William Sound in an area that's also known as Alaska's "little Switzerland". It is surrounded by the Chugach Mountains, the tallest coastal range in North America. It is the southern terminus of the 800 mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline. The main attractions here are the Columbia Glacier and the surrounding islands and bays of Prince William Sound.
This little city gets more snow than anywhere else in Alaska. The Chugach Mountains encourage storms to dump an average of 27 ft. of snow and a record 46 ft. in the winter of 1989-90. Can you imagine getting that much snow!
During the drive to Valdez on the Richardson Highway we passed awesome canyons and waterfalls and we saw the Worthington Glacier. The mountains are green and very lush with vegetation. It wasn't until we set up camp at the Sea Otter RV Park that we saw our first wild life. We are camping right on the water. There are several sea otters that have been swimming in back of our trailer! Also saw a bald eagle flying overhead. We took a drive to Solomon Gulch and saw tons of pink salmon trying to go upstream to lay their eggs. It was fascinating to watch. There were thousands of fish! The seagulls stood close by to eat any fish that did not make it. We also saw a seal swimming close by.
After checking with the ferry, we decided that we did not want to spend $300 to go to Cordova to meet with a couple that we had met earlier in the trip. Jack and Mary are from Youngstown, OH and also have a house in Cordova and spend every summer in Cordova. They invited us to come and visit them. The ferry only goes to Cordova every 3 days and it is too pricey. It is hard to believe that Cordova could be any more beautiful than Valdez. We talked to a man who does live here and one winter he had to take his daughter to the emergency room all the way to Anchorage during a winter storm.
We did make reservations to do a 6 hour cruise tomorrow to see wildlife and glaciers. Thankfully, Terry had purchased a coupon book before we left and we are able to get 2 tickets for the price of one.
It has been cloudy most of the day. That is not all bad as it helps to make it a little darker to go to sleep.