|Bungee jumpers sometimes use this bridge|
|Old railroad bridge|
|We saw this little guy along the way.....|
|......we named him Dylan|
Just outside of town there is a National Parks Visitor Center (it was closed), just down the road there is another visitors center which had information on all the local attractions. You could park here free for one day and overnight for $5. There are several other campgrounds within the visitors center parking lot. We stayed in the $5 spot the first night and a rest area the next.
They do not allow you to take your vehicle into town, the walk into town is about ½ mile from where we parked over a footbridge across the river. It was on this footbridge that we had our most unlikely encounter of the trip. Walking across the bridge there was another couple standing out in the middle admiring the view.
I said hi as I walked by and the woman said something to Daisy. As I walked by the woman screamed “Barb!” I turn around to see her and Barb hugging like long lost cousins. It was one of Barb’s favoritest coworkers from her former job at the county in Minnesota! Somebody do the math for me and tell me what the odds of that are.Mel and her husband flew in to Anchorage for a two week vacation and were touring the area. They chatted for about 20 minutes before they had to catch their shuttle back to Chitina. Barb was talking most of the day about how cool it was to run into her.
The town of McCarthy is a cool little town. In its heyday it served the 600+ workers of the Kennecott Mill. The town died when the mill closed in the 1937 but now has 50+ residents with a handful of shops and businesses.There is a ton of things to do here; kayaking, ice climbing, mine hikes, the mill tour and glacier hikes. We opted for the last two, the mill tour and glacier hike. The Root Glacier hike is about 2 ½ miles from the end of Kennecott with mostly level terrain except for the last ¼ which descends onto the glacier. They offer guided tours in town at $80 per person and provide crampons for walking on the glacier itself. We did the self guided tour and were camponless which was not too bad as the ice was fairly rough.
|Main Street McCarthy|
|Trail leading to the glacier|
|A lot of the glacier is covered with a layer of dirt|
It is hard to really see how big the glacier is but if you look at the picture above and zoom way in......
Those tiny little specks in the upper left is a line of 9 people
|My first steps on a glacier|
|Eventually the dirt diminished and we were walking on ice|
|It is hard to see but the Root Glacier goes for 30 miles all the way up between these two mountains|
|There are small lakes on the glacier|
|As well as streams|
|Filling our bottles with glacier water!|
|The tiny speck is me headed back to land|
The mill tour was $27.50 per person and allows you access to many areas that are not open to the general public. During the 2 1/2 hour tour, the tour guide walks you through each of the areas of the mill, explaining each of the processes and pieces of machinery along the way.
|The Mill itself is 14 stories tall|
|This is the initial shoot where everything gets crushed from basketball size down to softball size stone|
|View from the top|
|Then it went to here were a guy stood with a hammer and crushed anything did not fit through the grate|
|This crushing wheel took it down to pea size|
|Then on to the Sluice Box where the mineral was separated by weight|
|Then on to Shaker Tables where it was further separated|
|Finally after the copper was bagged it was put on the train and shipped out|
The mill ran 24 hours a day and was generally operated with 60 employees at a time but could be run by as few as 7. It is very interesting to see how the mill operated and how the town was powered/heated in the early 1900’s.
Next up road trip to Valdez!