August 21, 2007 – Travel to Kenny Lake and Chitina

Our travels today took us up over Thompson Pass. This time it was straight uphill (coming into Valdez it was downhill). And we went up into the clouds….

The poles you see in the picture are snow poles – they tell the highway crew where the highway is during and after snowfalls. There is a lot of snow in this area and a lot of wind that creates drifts.

From the Richardson Highway, we turned to the Edgerton Highway and this sight greeted us:

Isn’t that incredible!

We are camped at the Kenny Lakes RV Park which is 7 miles in from the Richardson Highway. The owner of the campground allows their customers to pick diamond willow from their property.

So after we set up, we went diamond willow hunting. This particular willow can have natural diamond shapes embedded in the stalk of the tree. We have seen many beautiful items such as walking sticks, hand rails, etc. made from the diamond willow. In some of the places we have stayed or toured, there is a hefty charge for the unfinished products and even more for the finished ones so it was a delight for us to go on our own hunting expedition. We did find a few pieces: one with the bark already stripped – no diamond shapes but a nice white color; another that we stripped – a darker color and some diamond shapes; and another that we are letting dry out and then stripping – hopefully that does have some diamond shapes.

We then took a ride to Chitina which is the town at the end of the paved Edgerton Road. Right past Chitina is the Copper River where there are fish wheels. We were able to see some of the wheels but I was not comfortable crossing the small streams to get closer (maybe we will get closer on our tour tomorrow).

On the way back home, we were greeted with another moose:

(And we also saw another black bear crossing the road!!)

And a great campfire tonight!!

Miles Traveled: 91
Routes Traveled:
Alaska: AK-4 (Richardson Highway); AK-10 (Edgerton Highway)

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