Tuesday, June 30

Sky High & Down to Earth

Our "end of the road" journey to McCarthy (pop 200 - year round 25) and Kennecott (even smaller) ends at the banks of the Nizma River. Then, two footbridges and a half mile hike brings you to McCarthy - residents can pay $300 a year to use a privately owned vehicle bridge, and a shuttle service does run from the footbridge to town and on to Kennecott. Our first stop was the town's history museum, then The Potato for a snack (galic french fries), then a walk around town - where we discovered McCarthy Air, and schedule a "flightseeing" tour for later in the day. With a couple hours to kill before our flight we stopped in at the New Golden Saloon for a beer - spent the time talking with three Swiss travelers.

Then it's off to the airport, where we meet our pilot - Gary Green has been flying in Alaska for 45 years, owns his own plane and has a lot of experience! Off we go for a flight unlike any I've experienced (remember I'm a pilot) as we cruise over glaciers, alongside mountains (25 feet away from the planes wingtip), looking at wildlife, rivers, lakes, and vast snow and icefields. Spectacular!

 

 

The next day we keep our feet firmly on the ground as we walked around the Kennecott Mill Town (now a National Historic Landmark administered by the NPS) - not as eye popping as our glacier flight, but pretty impressive. The first ore train departed the mill in 1911 and in the 27 years of operation Kennecott produced 4.625 million tons of ore averaging 13 per cent copper valued at roughly $207,000,000. The last train left Kennecott on November 10, 1938, leaving it a ghost town. Today fewer than 25 people reside year round.

Kennecott Mill from the air
The Mill
Power Plant

 

 

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