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Old 08-25-2012, 10:36 PM   #60
AnjinSan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Bucharest
Oddometer: 232
The New World I.22 – Valdez

Wow, I wouldn't even dream of thinking that this should place in the top, but thank you for your appreciation! I hope it would only get better. Valdez is next.
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Leaving Anchorage we feel that the Alaska leg of our trip is getting to a close. Boy were we wrong. The time was running out but we still had so much more interesting experiences in store for us before leaving Alaska for the last time (this year, as we really hope to return here)
Our next destination was to be Valdez. Very small town hanged between the mountains and the sea, small but important because the oil pipe is ending here. The petrol is pumped from the far North (we’ve seen it in Dalton Highway) to Valdez terminal and then the big oil tankers take it further.
But we were not on the road to Valdez for that. But because of this!
And this!

We climb towards Thompson pass. It is not very high (just over 2800 feet) but it is one of the snowiest places in Alaska ( over 500 inches of snow per year). Fortunately during summer the snow can be found only on the mountain slopes, and the road is clean.
Close to summit we see the “strange blue thing” that is called clear sky. I understand from others that it is a rare thing in this parts. So we do not complain about the cold and instead are very happy that it is not raining.
Andreea gets of in one of the parking lots and so I can go and explore a little off-road track. I think I am starting to like this off-roading thing. Hmm….
Unfortunately we do not have a tele lens for our camera so no close-ups from where Andrea was standing. The panoramic views are a very nice trade of though.
We also find out what is the deal with the strange poles we were seeing on the side of the road. Turns out that they actually are there to help visibility during winter time when it is dark and snowy white or grey sky everywhere. Cool stuff!
Reaching Valdez, we immediately know it is a fishing town.
We set up our tent in the middle of a campground and quickly hit the sleeping bags as the degrees were fading away fast into the night. It was cold!
Next day though we wake up surrounded by blue skies, white and green mountains, waters and fish in different states of…hmm health.
When we were still up in Fairbanks we were told that we should check out a salmon hatchery where bears are coming to fish and feast. While we are getting close a very helpful sign for motorcycles attracts our attention. Yeah… sure, we will stay inside.
Well, no bear in sight but we sure did find the fish!
But as we approached the site it all went South. As you know salmon wants to get upstream to lay their eggs and then die. But here they just hit a human-installed net (for some hydro construction).
The fish do what nature dictates, they try to go upstream. They hit time and time again the net, until tired or out of luck, they land on stones and are out of water (and air). So they just try desperately to find water again.
I am sorry if the pictures are too graphic. If you would like to return to “blue skies times” just skip to the next paragraph. This one will remain gray. And no, this is not a plea for the “poor little fish”, those who know me can say that I love my fish into a fry-pan and have nothing against that. But what we were seeing there was just waste. The fish could not lay their eggs, they were not fished for consumption, they just desperately trying to go upstream. Near us, a little girl was equally desperately trying to throw back in the water the fish which landed on the rocks, one by one.
Only so that they will end up in the same net.
I am going to stop here with the topic. Maybe I am missing some important aspect and I am interpreting the hole scene wrongfully.
We decide to leave. We didn’t want to see any bear anymore. But we did see other animals. A cropped sea-lion
And some eagles out for hunting
Must be good to fly up there
Have a nice Sunday!
Next time we continue to explore places away from the main highway and we discover the town we liked the most in Alaska. Stay tuned!
Written from H.U. meeting in Canada. Tomorrow we continue our journey! It was so good and such a surprise to meet some of you here!

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