Welcome back to the sixth installment of the Bucket List: Alaska series. If you are just joining us, you can go back to read the start of our Alaska adventure in Anchorage at this link. There will be links at the bottom of each post to take you to the next one.
The next day of our Alaska adventure would prove to be a long trip on a bus. Nine hours on a bus, traveling ~135 miles over the Denali Highway, aka AK 8, to be exact. The Denali highway is mostly gravel and mud, it had been raining, there was roadwork in progress, and we were on a 45′ long tour bus. Fun. 🙂 We were on our way to the Copper River Wilderness Lodge, in a more remote eastern area of Alaska, for two nights. I do want to add that we chose this itinerary with longer travel times, in order to see more of this incredible state.
A few photos of the road work fun. The bus driver really had a challenge in this instance, threading the bus through a super narrow path between open culverts! :-O
A few landscape photos of the first 90 or so miles. It was a very cloudy and threatening sky for most of the day, but the rain held off.
We stopped for lunch at the McLaren River Lodge, a full-service rustic roadhouse featuring meals, lodging, and sporting activities for the traveler in the high alpine country. We enjoyed several hot soups, bread, and dessert, as well as the chance to get off the bus! The Maclaren River flows from the Maclaren Glacier south to the Susitna River and then into Cook Inlet just west of Anchorage.
Due to another Princess bus having an emergency, we were forced to stop just a bit east of the lodge at the McLaren Summit overlook for an extended photo op. Oh darn! 🙂
We stopped one more time before our arrival at Copper River at the overlook at Summit Lake, just before Paxson. The views were incredible! To the north is one of the state’s spectacular mountain ranges, the Alaska Range. Several peaks in this view have elevations above 12,000 feet. This range extends in a great arc from Cook Inlet through the Mt. McKinley massif and on to the Canadian border, a distance of 650 miles. The Gulkana and Gakona glaciers, seen from this point, have formed as a result of the buildup of snowfields high in the Alaska Range. Layers of snow accumulate year after year and are gradually compacted into ice. As the glacier becomes heavier, it begins to slide infinitesimally, gouging into the rock over which it passes. This action, called glacial erosion, contributes to the jagged appearance of the Alaska Range and creates the U-shaped valleys seen from the road. But now I’ll shut up and let the photos do the talking.
I had intended to include Copper River in this post, but I think it deserves its own post and that will be next up. Thanks for continuing to relive our Alaskan journey in pictures!
You can go read the next post right now at this link.