Wednesday, September 3, 2008

McCarthy to Homer

What an adventure!! With one of my buddies leaving Alaska in about a week, we decided a whirlwind tour of Southcentral Alaska would be a nice journey.

We departed Anchorage on Saturday morning at 0700, and drove 6 hours to McCarthy, 290 miles from Eagle River, and just north of Valdez. Coming to a screeching halt, Tyler jumped out and ran a half marathon while Frank and I biked to the turnaround point.
McCarthy started out as a freight and passenger town, supporting nearby Kennecott, which was founded in 1900 from gold and copper prospecting. The copper in the area of Kennecott was among the richest deposits ever found and still unique in the world. The Mill building, at 14 levels, is still the tallest wooden structure in America.

The only bar in town, the Golden Saloon, had a liquidation sale (literally) on all of their liquor and a pretty talented Bluegrass band. Camping was on your own, with stellar views of the 16,000 foot peak of Blackburn Mountain and the Root and Kennicott Glaciers in the middle of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Wildlife Refuge
After the McCarthy adventure, we drove the 60 mile long dirt road to Chitina, and then back to Anchorage, stopping in Glennallen for b'fast. Refit was done in Eagle River at COP Hummer, and then where to next? Homer of course!! The four hour trip to Homer landed us on the Homer Spit setting up tents in wind and rain.

After setting up camp, we walked in the gale force winds to the most famous bar on the spit, The Salty Dawg Saloon, which is over 100 years old. Drinking the "Homer Ale" out of Sobe glasses, we closer 'er down at 0300. Enduring the rain all night, but a well deserved rest, we ate breakfast in the morning and toured the town.

Lastly, we signed a $1 bill and hung it on the ceiling of the Salty Dawg!