The ride to Valdez winds through the Chugash Mountains. Because of their proximity to the coast, the the Chugash Mountain Crest is the snowiest place in the world with an average annual snowfall of over 600 inches. We travel the Richardson Highway built in the mid 1940s. Prior to that time, the way to move from the coast inland was over the “Goat Trail” which wound through the mountains. Today what is left of that wilderness trail can be be recreationally hiked. It's another world since the 1940s. Hikers can pick up the Goat Trail off the highway at Bridal and Horsetail Falls.
J.J quickly points out Mt. Billy Mitchell (named after Billy Mitchell, father of the modern Air Force and the man who correctly felt that control of the North American continent would be done by those who held Alaska, a point proven during WWII).
We also pass the beautiful Worthington Glacier and once again see Nature's palette at work.
One marvel follows another, and coming over the Thompson Pass, rising up through the clouds and coming down through the clouds is breathtaking. Thompson Pass rises to 2,678 feet and can get as much of 980 inches of snow. Those poles are not mere light poles. They indicate to the snow plowers the depth of the snow and also show them the road. Imagine the snow like that! This is not a road one wants to slip off! I'd bet that through most of the lower 48, a sign reading Easy Freeze means ice cream. Not in Alaska! Nothing like Flash Freezing FISH!!!! Ha Ha Ha It is a bit sad to get to Valdez. It's the end of the land part of our tour. Though it's been spectacular, we also know we've barely scratched the Alaskan surface. In fact, we've been advised that when we return, we should make sure to get to Nome. It's an entirely different world.
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