Denali, Copper River, and McCarthy

        We spent the next week exploring central Alaska, from Mount McKinley near Fairbanks to the Wrangell-St. Elias Range on the Canadian border.

        We lucked out at Denali National Park, where Mount McKinley is often hidden by clouds.  Blue skies, spectacular wildlife, and sublime vistas gave us a vivid day of busing and hiking along the 62-mile shuttlebus road into the backcountry.
McKinley looms  Roadside grizzly  Roadside moose 
nest (ledge on cliff) 
Musher Carolyn  Scenery


        From Denali, we traveled (and birded) the unpaved Denali Highway east for several days through the lake-strewn wilderness south of the Alaska Range.  Then paved roads and a few towns took us south and east again to the crossing of the great Copper River.  Camping in a shady nook, we visited the nearby fish camps of Natives harvesting the salmon run.
Fish camp  Dip netters  Fish wheel 


        Leaving the river, we climbed east on a notoriously rough road that deadended at the footbridge to McCarthy.  This old mining town, and the abandoned Kennicott Copper Mine nearby, sit at the foot of Kennicott Glacier amid the spectacular peaks of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
Footbridge to McCarthy  Downtown McCarthy 
Kennicott Mine  Kennicott Glacier 


        Backtracking west for several days along the magnificent peaks and glaciers of the Chugach Range to Anchorage, we turned south for the tip of the Kenai Peninsula to board the Aleutian ferry at Homer.


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