Thursday, August 17, 2006
To Cordova via Valdez
Did you ever wonder it what it was like to be in a car with a three-year old for eight hours? Especially if you are traveling across gorgeous but desolate country? Hmmmm.....well, we did. We all survived, but by the time we got through Keystone Canyon and were coasting into Valdez Vivi started crying for her pink house. She wanted to be HOME! Who would ever guess that Tom and I would raise a homebody? We did stop in Glenallen for some food. While there we ran into Arliss, an old friend of my folks and a former state senator. Despite how geographically large a place Alaska is, it is one small town.
We spent a quick night in Valdez and boarded the ferry for Cordova at 8am. We headed out to Prince William Sound. We had a quick stop in Tatitlik (yes, I know) and then on over to Cordova. No orcas for Zoey but loads of seals. We also had lots of icebergs from Columbia Glacier. There were not too many folks on the boat as this was the middle of the week. One woman we met is a reporter for Alaska Public News Radio (APRN) as well as a science writer. She interviewed Zoey about her trip on the ferry and the wildlife we had been spotting. Zoey really enjoyed that, so much that she wants to try her hand at field recording. I think I see a homeschool class on field recording in my future.
We arrived in Cordova totally strung out from the long-a@# drive the day before and the early morning ferry trip. We went to the little B&B that Tom booked us in. It was right on Eyak Lake with kayaks out the back door. I think we will be going back. Tom has a totally skewed view of the weather in Cordova. He believes that it is always sunny. Every time HE is there it is sunny. One evening we drove out to Hartney Bay to watch the sunset and see the tide come in. Zoey was hoping for classic tide pools, but there was not much of that to be had.
What we did find was about seven to ten seals watching our every move from about 20 feet out to sea. It was amazing. We could hear them breathe. They were very interested in what the girls were doing. I kept teasing Zoey that they wanted to take her for a wife like in the old selkie legends.
Another afternoon we drove out to the end of the Copper River Highway. I am the rare person who can say that they were sunburned in Cordova. I was. My friends here in Alaska are incredulous. We drove across the Million Dollar Bridge to the end of the road. No pictures of this really cool art nouveau bridge because I am a dork. It was lovely. We made a little day camp with a fire, some beers and sausage, and waded in the river. While by the river we saw skillions of grizzly tracks. The water was super cooled from the glacier, but the sun was beating on us, so it evened out.
We turned around after spending time in our little day camp and headed to the Child's Glacier. This place is so cool. The glacier is right across the river, but your perspective get skewed. You are really about 1200 feet from the glacier, yet you feel closer. There were serveral groups of folks there to watch this thing calve. There was a group of retirees with comfy chairs, coolers, drinks, books, cell phones, dogs. Then there were the party girls. They were in their forties, playing cribbage and dominoes and having beers. Another sest was Old Believer men. The Copper River red run had just been shut down, so they were taking a breather away from fishing boats, kids, wives. And then there was us. Us with the spazzing, rambuncitous three-year-old. She was not digging the fact that we were watching nothing. Nothing to her. The glacier was popping and cracking and calving. It sounded like large ordinances at times. And the blues and greens in the ice, amazing. Vivi not so impressed. She started running and singing when we told her it was time to walk to the truck.