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Twin Lakes on Nabesna Road to
Blueberry Recreation Site on the Richardson Highway, AK

24 August 2010 - Tuesday

Glorious blue sky this a.m.! Wow! A great way to wake up! The fall colours were outstanding & highlighted the blue sky with the snow-capped Mt. Sanford peeking over the horizon.

Hiking at Twin Lakes on Nabesna Road in Alaska
Mt Sanford in the distance seen from Twin Lakes

Just north of Twin Lakes, Mt. Sanford again rose from the horizon but with clouds moving in.
Do not plan a hike to the mountain from Nabesna Road unless you are really keen on trudging 55 km (34 miles) through muskeg and over small mountains!

View west from Nabesna Road, Alaska
Snow capped Mt Sanford viewed from an spot just north of Twin Lakes

We did not setting any speed records, stopped often for pictures plus the road was still rough.

Along Nabesna Road in Alaska
View northeast to the Wrangell-St. Elias mountains - N62 34.601 W143 32.122

One tends to see odd things when taking time to move along the road. The sign below was at a roadside stop that was obviously popular despite the hike to the facilities!

Sign along Nabesna Road in Alaska
Nabesna Road has numerous signs directing tourists to popular attractions

Mt. Sanford kept showing up to the west.

Along Nabesna Road in Alaska
Mt Sanford viewed from N62 35.076 W143 34.054

We were really enjoying the start to today. Conditions were perfect for sightseeing.

On Nabesna Road in Alaska
Looking north on Nabesna Road

Two hours after setting off from Twin Lakes the truck turned west on the paved surface of the Tok Cutoff. Lunch was at a large rest area by the Chistochina River. It was WINDY! The fifth wheel rocked while we munched.

We decided to head south to Valdez. We wanted to visit both McCarthy and Valdez. Approaching the Edgerton Highway junction, and seeing that blue overhead, the truck continued southward towards Valdez. Our last visit to Valdez had been in the pouring rain and we hoped to see it in clear skies!

Southbound towards Valdez on Richardson Highway in Alaska
Edgerton Highway junction - N61 43.312 W145 09.802

There were rough spots on the Richardson Hwy, just as there are on most highways in the north. 

Southbound towards Valdez on Richardson Highway in Alaska
Heading down the hill towards Squirrel Creek

Debated overnighting at the Squirrel Creek Recreation Site. It didn't appeal to us so carried on. 

Richardson Highway towards Valdez in Alaska
Southbound at approximately Mile 67 on the Richardson Highway

On the Richardson Highway towards Valdez, Alaska
Approaching the Bill Mitchell Rest Area southbound at approximately Mile 49

Worthington Glacier is beside the road, visible on the approach southbound. The glacier has receded a great deal from the first time I saw it as a kid. Back then it was almost to the road.

on the Richardson Hwy heading for Valdez, Alaska
Worthington Glacier in the distance

It is impressive to see. There is a rest area and visitor center at the foot of the glacier (we visited on our way out from Valdez). It is possible to hike to the toe of the glacier, with caution.

on the Richardson Hwy heading for Valdez, Alaska
Worthington Glacier - N61 10.683 W145 40.182

Below is Worthington Glacier as it appeared in September 1993.

Worthington Glacier
Worthington Glacier in September 1993

Soon after the Worthington Glacier is the drive through Thompson Pass.
Then the descent starts towards Valdez.

On Richardson Highway heading towards Valdez, Alaska
View southward while driving down THE hill towards Valdez - N61 07.916 W145 44.224

Decided to pull into the Blueberry Lake State Recreation Site, 25 miles outside of Valdez rather than head into Valdez. This rec site has numerous campsites perched on the side of the mountain, nestled alongside Blueberry Lake.

Campsite at Blueberry Recreation Site near Valdez, Alaska
Campsite at Blueberry Recreation Site - N61 07.186 W145 42.427

The campground was about half full when we pulled in at 5:30 p.m. Most of the larger sites were occupied. We found one in which we fit that included a fire pit and a picnic bench that had an amazing view of the mountains.

At Blueberry Recreation Site near Valdez, Alaska
View from near our campsite at Blueberry Recreation Site

 This campground is squeezed onto the edge of the mountain. On its north side is the highway, on its east side is a hairpin turn on the highway and on its lower southside is the highway. Much lower!

At Blueberry Recreatoin Site near Valdez, Alaska
View southward over Blueberry Lake

I could not get over the stunning views as the sun set! A lovely spot to spend the night! Only $15 for the privilege too.

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