McCarthy and Kennecott Copper Mine

Trip Start May 31, 2008
Trip End Aug 28, 2008

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Where I stayed
Kenny Lake Mercantile and RV Park

Flag of United States  , Alaska
Saturday, August 2, 2008

We are staying just outside of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.  This is the largest national park in the U.S.  and only has two roads into the park.  We took a trip all the way in the road which goes into the park from the west.  This is the Edgerton-McCarthy Road.  The first 33 miles are paved and the next 60 are dirt.  With this in mind, we opted to pay for van trip into the park.  McCarthy is the jumping off point for those who wish to explore farther by backpacking or flying in.  Otherwise you can take a van five miles farther on to the Kennecott Copper Mine, which operated until 1938.  When the copper mine was in operation the towns of McCarthy and Chitina were busy towns.  Today there is little in either place and the mine town is deserted except for the tourists who come to visit.  The towns were accessed by a railroad.  Now that rail bed is the road. 
We arrived at Kennicott (Note: The town name is spelt differently than the mine.) about 11 a.m. and set about to explore the area.  We went through the buildings that were open and photographed those that were not.   
In the area there are a number of glaciers, two of which are near the mine.  We walked about of a mile to view both the Kennicott Glacier and the Root Glacier.  These glaciers merge into one and that portion of the glacier appears to be hills of stone, as the glacier is melting more from the top leaving stones on top.  The brown hills in the pictures are actually the glacier.
After walking out the trail, we returned to the Kennecott Glacier Hotel for a nice lunch and sat and enjoyed the scenery until we caught our van ride back to the campground.
In the park are four of the highest peaks in North America and just a Denali does, they collect the clouds and are often obscured.  As we rode into the park, the shortest peak, Mt. Drum was visible.  Then as we were leaving, another peak was visible.  I'm not sure which one that was.  Back at the campground, just above the trees, the top Mt. Wrangell could be seen.  Many of the mountains in the range were once volcanic.  Today the only active volcano is Mt. Wrangell.  It has not erupted since 1900, but frequently emits steam. 
Tomorrow we are back to Tok as we start our journey east.
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