On the Road with David & Jo-Anna travel blog

Here we are at Mt. Wrangell and Mt. Drum

Wrangell Mountain is an active volcano

YES!! We got a picture of the moose as it crossed in...


David at the Ranger Station

Beautiful Wilderness

Snow next to our campsite

Rick and David working on the generator

After leaving Tok, we headed west along the Glenn Highway towards Wrangell-St.Elias National Park. This park, which encompasses all the lands surrounding the Wrangell and St. Elias mountain chains, is the largest park (in terms of square miles) in the entire National Park System. However, the park is almost totally inaccessible--there are two rough roads which go a short distance into the park from two different points on the eastern side of the park. Otherwise, one really is limited to flying over the park for a birds-eye view. Our goal was to drive into the park by means of one of these two roads--the Nabesna Road, which was built many years ago when there was an operating mine at Nabesna, 50 miles from the edge of the park.

Our plan was to drive about 65 miles along the Glenn Highway, drop the RVs at a small state campground at Porcupine State Park, near the cutoff for the Nabesna Road, and then drive into the park on the Nabesna Road. However, we encountered a couple of problems along the way. First, that stretch of the Glenn Highway turned out to be another rough road. As a result, when we got to Porcupine State Park, unhitched the truck and went inside our Big Sky, we found several problems. First, the closet rod in the front wardrobe had broken loose from its mountings due to the pounding the rig had been taking. Second, the large day/night shade next to the dining room table had broken loose from its mounting. In addition, David couldn't get the generator to start. Finally, the park was swarming with mosquitoes, and David was fighting them off while trying to get the RV set up and the truck unhitched. OUCH but those little females do bite!!!!

Rather than try to fix the damage immediately, we all climbed in our vehicles and headed for the park. First stop was the small park ranger station at the start of Nabesna Road, where the literature encouraged us to stop and find out about the condition of the road. That was our first disappointing experience with the park--the ranger on duty, although well-meaning, was almost totally devoid of useful knowledge. She didn't know anything about the condition of the road and had to go ask another ranger for that info. When we asked about short, scenic hikes off the road, she couldn't really identify any for us. When we asked about how the scenery for the last half of the road (where the driving can get rough) compared to the scenery along the first half of the road, she couldn't really tell us anything useful. All in all, it was the first time in all our dealings with national parks on our Great Adventure where a park ranger was so totally incapable of providing any assistance or information to us. Oh well!!

Given all the write-ups we had seen about the beautiful scenery along this road into the park, we were disappointed with what we saw. On the positive side, there were good views of several sections of the Wrangell Mountains in the distance. However, we had had good views of the mountains at several points while driving along the Glenn Highway earlier in the day. By comparison, along many stretches of the Nabesna Road, the views of the mountains were obscured by the trees along the roadway. And these trees weren't even tall, stately good-looking trees. Instead, most of them were scraggly Black Spruce, which to our eyes are probably the most unattractive trees we have seen in our travels. Fortunately, we were able to get a good photo op of a moose grazing along the roadway--the moose stopped grazing and stared at us for a few minutes (while Jo was madly snapping pictures) and then slowly walked across the road (while Jo madly snapped even more pictures) before disappearing into the woods. While we have had several moose sightings previously, including three sightings earlier today on the Glenn Highway, they were all in the distance and while we were driving, so there was no chance for Jo to get a good photo shot. As a result, for the last several days, she has been mumbling while we were driving that she wants to see "Bullwinkle the Moose," which probably dates the both of us!!!! So glad she got all these good shots of this moose, although she's now talking about how this was "just" a female and she now wants to get close up shots of a male with large antlers. @%$#&@$ Bullwinkle!!!! LOL!!!!!

When we got back to the campground, David had a long but reasonably productive time fixing the damage to the rig. The closet rod was put back in place with a temp fix (a permanent fix must await a trip to a Home Depot for other parts), and the day/night shade was reinstalled and reinforced. But the generator still is not working. Oh well, on the road we just have to be content when we win two out of three!!!!

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