Sunday, September 18, 2016

Alaska 2016 - Day 8 (8/27/2016) - Whittier to Copper Center

My designated disembarkation time was 7:30 AM.  After getting off the ship I boarded a catamaran with 51 other passengers and crossed over to Valdez.  The trip took a little less than 4 hours, even with a few stops to admire sea lions and sea otters.  I got a little seasick for the first time during the boat ride, but I figured that it was due to staring at the laptop screen while we went along – I was over it soon after turning off the laptop and instead looking at the surroundings.

After arriving in Valdez we were picked up by a couple of motor coaches.  They first took us a few blocks to the Safeway parking lot, where we were then released to find lunch.  I ate at a place (Roadside Potatohead) that was a former food truck – I had the hummus wrap recommended by one of the tour guides (Jared).  A group of 3 (a married couple, Ben and Suzie, and her mother) from Australia that was also on the tour was kind enough to invite me to join their table.  After lunch we walked back to Safeway and bought some supplies ahead of the 9-hour bus ride in a couple of days.

The coach then took us to the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge, just outside the tiny town of Copper Center.  On the way we stopped at scenic pullouts to view Horsetail Fall in Keystone Canyon, Thompson Pass, Worthington Glacier, and the (the western edge of the) Wrangell Mountain Range.  After arriving at the lodge, I unpacked and then joined up with a 6 PM group nature walk around the lodge property that was led by a ranger from Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.  The same ranger (Lindsey) then gave a talk at 7:30 about ravens, a bird species that I now better appreciate.  Before the talk, I booked an excursion to hike the Worthington Glacier the next day.  After the talk I joined Jeff and Tammy, a married couple from Pittsburgh, who were already dining in the hotel bar.  After dinner I grabbed a cookie and some milk chocolate from the "Christmas in July and August" party in the lodge great room, then retired to my room.

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My favorite photos from the trip can be found here:
https://goo.gl/photos/4ikrCSuPvRpRkXTKA

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