Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Valdez or Bust

After graduation, the team leaders were curious what we would be doing for our last week of work. We were SO happy to hear the good news that we were able to go on a road trip anywhere we wanted, as long as we were back in Indian by Tuesday around 1 pm. Anywhere is a big deal in such a vast state, so we made sure to take full advantage of one final hoorah with the co-workers we've lived and worked with for the past six months. We decided to drive to Valdez, a beautiful town on Prince William Sound, with more glaciers than anywhere I've seen. On the drive there, we drove over Thompson Pass, where I counted over 15 glaciers in sight at the same time! We had the most gorgeous blue skies and enjoyed every minute of the beautiful Richardson Highway.We had a great night camping in Valdez and woke up to another sunny day! We spent the morning watching a black bear fish for salmon and a few of us jumped in the FREEZING cold waters of the Valdez Glacier Lake. So refreshing! We continued the day by driving back up the Richardson highway to Paxson. WE found a spot where the Alyeska pipeline goes underground, making it easy to climb onto it. We entertained ourselves for a while playing on the pipeline right above the giant sign telling you not to climb on it. Once in Paxson, we met a super friendly guy who owns the Paxson lodge. He hooked us up with tons of potable water (a rare commodity on Alaskan road trips), free firewood, and a private campsite right next to the river. To show us where to camp, he drove our staff member around in his truck that no longer has brakes due to a collision with a moose. It is also lacking a front windshield and the right door doesn't open. Too funny!!

The last day of the trip was spent driving the Denali Highway, watching caribou run through the valleys, enjoying the spectacular views and geocaching the whole way! Geocaching is one of my new favorite hobbies, thanks to some of my co-leaders here that have introduced me to it. Anyone else into it? Let me know and lets go find some caches together!!! It's so much fun!

So now we're back at the shop, with just 3 days to go. I'm planning a trip to Kodiak Island with a coworker here for next week. My future after that is very up in the air, but I do know a visit to Kansas and Colorado are definitely in order. August 27th I'll be in Kansas so I look forward to seeing many of you soon!!

Fireweed on the Richardson Highway
 Worthington Glacier View from the highway. We later walked on this glacier.
Sarah enjoying Thompson Pass
 The beautiful town of Valdez
 The tide went out and left behind hundreds of salmon for the gulls to feast on
Black bear caught a salmon
Katie, Sean, and I standing on a glacial iceberg at Valdez Glacier
Sean, Bethand I playing on the pipeline :)

Happy to find the Landmark Gap Geocache on the Denali Highway

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