Monday, June 24, 2019

Day 19 + 20 D/A Adventure, Valdez

Day 19- Our day of sunshine was short lived. We awoke to the clouds clinging tight to the mountain tops. Still some incredible views, but we were hoping for more intense colors as we visited Valdez. So we packed up and left the Blueberry State Rec. Area The first thing we passed was a strange sight. Trailer wheels stuck up in the air. We were going down a curve and in the ditch there was an overturned fifthwheel. We don't know when that happened. There was no place to stop for a photo. It had been there awhile because there was caution tape around it so we knew there was no one in side. Just another reminder to not over drive these roads. After that we came across some waterfalls.

Bridal Veil  Falls.
We noticed that in these mountains, they are not dominated with pine trees. There are hardly any pine trees at all but rather some kind of bush, giving the mountains a plush carpet kind of look.
Things that make you go hmm? The next waterfall was called Horsetail Falls and we are driving through the Keystone Canyon.
It fans out over the rocks giving it a horsetail look.
Here's a picture of Lisa that I took. See how crisp and clear it is?
This is the picture Lisa took of me. Should I be offended? I am surprised she wasn't saying to me to keep backing up until I was completely gone out of the frame.

We got to Valdez and checked into our campground. Our plan was to get a spot in town so that we could just walk everywhere. Valdez is not that big. So we did. Bear Paw RV Park. We saw the shops, walked the small boat harbor. Ate lunch at Mike's Palace. It was a throwback to supper clubs and lounges. Very retro.

We saw a couple of boats for sale. Putting an idea in the back of my mind for a later day. One of the boats for sale was called a Nordic Tug. Cute little thing. Smaller than a fifthwheel but bigger than a pickup camper.
Wheels are turning on that one. We booked a glacier excursion for Friday, that should be interesting. In Valdez they have the cutest little rabbits running wild here. the story goes that a resident had about 30 pet rabbits. He passed away so his daughter let them go, not wanting to take care of them. Well they have thrived on their own, thanks to so many people that feed them all winter and all year round. They are feral now but still the cutest little things.

Critter count-2 rabbits.

Day 20- Today was the day of our Prince William Sound excursion. We awoke to an overcast sky and our hopes of seeing the sun were low. We packed all of our cold weather gear expecting a cold day on the boat.

It was a nice boat. It was fairly new because the guy was telling us it had its maiden voyage in May of 2018. It was very steady on the water witch I liked. We got loaded up and headed out into the sound. We went past the oil terminal.
There were no supertankers getting filled. I would have liked to see one of those.
Now at this point of the journey I feel that I should warn you about the graphic nature of the photos that follow. The reason being is that we have seen many types of animals and so much beautiful scenery. The clouds moved away now and the sun came out making the colors pop and I don't mean to brag, but these are some of the best photos I have taken. It was (pause for effect) amazing! These cruises can be expensive but it was so worth it. They even served us lunch. First animals we came to not far from the harbor were a bunch of sea otters just floating in the sound.

This cruise was going to take us to the Columbia Glacier. But every time a critter was spotted, we would go chase it down and get close to it so that we could watch for awhile. The cruise went for over 7 hours. A day well spent out in the sound. After the otters we saw some more scenery.

 The captain took us through a narrow channel between some islands. Not to worry though because it drops off drastically.

At this point you can see that the sun is starting to shine more and the clouds are breaking up. Our next stop was going to be Bull Island to see some sea lions. That was a ways away so we went inside the cabin for lunch clam chowder soup and a bagel. It was delicious.
Instead of me telling you hour by hour of what went on, I think I will just put a lot pictures on and then just tell you what the picture are about.

Humpback whale.

Sea lions.
Bull Island is home to many sea lions and also puffins.

Puffins don't let you get too close before they fly away.

At this point we were going to start heading to the glacier. We started seeing ice in the water and the captain said that we were still 14 miles away yet.

We had to weave our way through this ice field. At times it was slow going.
There was a bald eagle out in the ice field looking around.

The captain wasn't going to make any promises at how close he could get us to the glacier. But he did a great job getting through there.
That's one of the glaciers way off in the distance. As you can see we still have a lot of ice to get through.

It was taking so long to get there that I had used up my batteries and filled my SD card from all of the pictures.

Still getting closer. It was getting colder also with all of that ice around.

I have been playing around with the panorama shots.

The captain got us to with in a half mile of the glacier. That is the safe distance and they won't go closer than that. We saw some calving of the glacier which was very cool. I just could not get a video or photo of it happening. If you heard it and then looked it was too late to see it because of the distance the sound traveled. Now any photo after this are taken from my phone and Lisa's because this is where my camera died.

It was finally time to head back to Valdez. We passed a harbor seal sunning himself on the ice.
We also saw some orcas. We got back to Valdez and we were tired from the sun and the wind. So we went to The Fat Mermaid for dinner and just enjoyed the evening.
Not every dinner comes with a view like that. Our time in Valdez has ended and we start heading to Fairbanks. We liked Valdez. The only thing I did not like where the gnats. Gnats so big they would put the mosquitos to shame.

Critter count- lots.

On a personal note. We have looked at our maps and we realized that Disney is closer Quartzsite, Arizona than it is to Anchorage. So we may be altering our plans a little bit.

Next up Fairbanks.


  1. That was one of our favorite adventures when we were up there. Love the Sea Otters!

    1. It was quite the experience. Is that why there is a sign up here that says to keep Jim away from the sea otters?

  2. Love the iceberg shots. So blue! The waterfalls are amazing too. I want to see a good picture of a Puffin please..

    1. Those Puffins don't let the boat get too close and I was just to shaky with the zoom lens to get a good picture.