Three weeks, 4 sets of tires, 7,000 miles, and one oil change later...we had finally made it to Alaska. As the sun came up around 4 am, we rose not long after it. We got up eager to get on the road to Valdez, where the sun was shining and a shower was waiting! Chris's cousin, Mollie and her husband, Eric, were stationed there with the coastguard and had been kind enough to offer us a place to stay while we visited.
After several hours on the road we made it to Thompson's pass, the road into Valdez. It was about 5PM and we figured we would make a quick stop at the Worthington Glacier while we were passing by.
On the glacier we met two other climbers who had just set anchor to repel down into one of the moulins. They were kind enough to let us use their rigging to explore down in it! After some repelling, we set another anchor for a couple ice climbing routes. Not a bad first day in Alaska.
We got back to the car and we're shocked to find out it was already 9 o clock...turns out the whole sun never going down makes it hard to keep track of time. As we continued down Thompson's Pass we could not believe the views we were greeted with. Snow topped mountains, with lush green bases, and more waterfalls than I have ever seen! No one told us Valdez was like a jungle with snow!
We finally arrived at Mollie and Eric's house and started planning out our next couple of days in Valdez! ATVing, kakaing, climbing, hiking...Valdez has it all.
Day 1: Four-wheeling!
We woke up on Memorial Day outside of our 4 by 8 home! Instead we had a real room we could stand up in...we were living in luxury thanks to Eric and Mollie! The skies were blue so we took the four-wheelers to get gassed up and ready for a long day! 68 miles and several waterfalls later we were exhausted!
Day 2: Kayaking!
Day number two in Valdez and it was another beautiful one. Mollie had gathered up a few kayaks and we took them down to the Valdez Glacier. We were able to Kayak around huge icebergs and even kayak back into an erie glacier canyon. With the steep glacier walls surrounding us we couldn't help but to imagine what the wave would be like if an ice chunk fell loose. Talk about a cold plunge. After a quick dinner break we took the kayaks out to the bay to search for some sea life. On our way out we were paddling against the tide coming in and strong winds. One missed paddle and you would find yourself back near the shore. After a seal spotting and about and hour of fighting the current we let the water bring us back to the bank.
Day 3: Glacier Climb!
Three sunny days in a row...are we really in Alaska?! With no clouds in sight we headed back to the Worthington Glacier with Mollie to do some ice climbing. Loaded with gear and plenty of sun screen we headed up the glacier. After about a 1,000 feet of climbing we stopped for some lunch and got ready to set up anchors for our ice routes.
After several rounds of climbing and belaying we made our way back down the glacier for the moulin we had visited a couple days before. The moulin had seemed seemed to open up even more as the icy blue water flowed through it. We climbed for couple hours and then decided it was time to pack up the car and head back towards Valdez.
As the week came to and end we felt like we had done Valdez right, thanks to our hosts: Mollie and Eric!
With our last couple hours we started to pack up the car and take our final hot showers. We were almost ready to go...but not before a quick hike up "High School Hill". This was a no joke hike gaining almost 1,000 feet in a quarter mile...we couldn't pass that up! Finally, we had the car packed and our tiny home hooked up we were ready to head north...again!