Date: April 28, 2013
Tonight’s Location: Anchorage
Mileage: End - 17974
Start - 17651
Total Miles for the day: 323
Weather: brilliant sunshine and very cold
Temperature: start 3º (that is F, +3°)
High 47º in Anchorage
Wildlife count: Bobcat
Year List: 195
Birds: Ravens, Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk, Snow Buntings, Magpie, Bald Eagles, Greater White-fronted Geese, Snow Geese, Canada Geese,
We were up early this morning, as we had to remove all of the window coverings! Over our blackout shades, we hung towels, as well as lap blankets from Stantons and Nolan Boyer. We had to do something, as the temperature was below 3° at dawn! All of the insulation, along with our trusty heaters, furnace and electric blanket kept us toasty warm all night. We just don’t want to camp at those temperatures again!
Since dawn is around 4:30 am, by 8, we figured anything that was going to melt in the sun was just about there! So we pulled out and headed southwest on the Tok Cutoff. Yesterday, we had been on the east side of the St. Elias/Wrangell Mountains, so today, we were on the west side. (There is no cut through the mountains, so one must go around, and since there is water on the south side, the road circles around to Tok and to the north side of those mountains.)
The roads were completely dry, except for one very short section, about a mile, where the road ran due south, so the trees shaded the pavement completely, AND there must have been a snow shower confined to that area, as the road was completely ice-covered in that stretch. We were thrilled that there was no more!
The road today was paved with frost heaves, and many times coupled with hairpin curves and grades. I guess when one hangs a road on the sides of mountains, there are bound to be issues! John navigated those roads beautifully, and while he doesn’t want a CDL, he could surely pass the driving test to get one! The entire day provided one splendid vista after another, with glacial views and river valleys, as we passed through the Matanuska Valley, surrounded by the high, snow-covered Chugach Mountains. What a beautiful land!
We arrived in Anchorage around 3 pm and found a spot in the city at the Golden Nugget RV Park. It is open all year, so the RV’s that are here are mostly workers. As the snow here is just melting, there are huge piles of snow and large puddles of snowmelt. We were certainly not complaining – it was 47°, a temperature we have not seen for a LONG time, and it felt wonderful! There still is no water, as the temperature is below freezing at night, so we will continue to live out of jugs and hopefully we will be able to connect to water when we reach Homer.
My cousin, Mark, scouted the park for us, as we could not reach anyone in the office to determine if it was open before we got here. Then he and Leanne, and their two sons, Logan and Colton, came to pick us up and take us to dinner at a Red Robin – it was terrific to share time with them. We are home – it is 8:30 and the sun is a long way from setting, but we are done in!