Flying in Alaska: McCarthy and Kennecott

After a week or so in Valdez we reversed our route back to Gulkana, which seems to have turned out to be a central airport/campsite for us.

This time Betsy, Ney-J and Kathy left early in the van and did a hike at Thomson Pass. Passing over in the plane I wasn’t exactly sure they were there until I saw the van parked below, so I did a 180 and went through the pass again, now looking at the trails and ridges. Sure enough, I spotted the three of them waving. Fun!

I flew low over the Copper River back up to Gulkana where I waited a few hours for the van to show up. I got out of the plane and it was raining so I got back and in and just waited, sitting there. In the meantime I enjoyed some hummus, crackers and red wine.

I posted the “red wine” photo on Instagram (@ney.grant) and I was accused of promoting drinking and flying. Come on, really?  I mean I drink and fly all the time, but I don’t promote it.  (that was a joke)

It wasn’t raining the next day so we flew (low again) down the Copper to the Chitna and over to McCarthy with a detour to look at the Nazina that we rafted last summer.  With all this low flying I’ve spent hours looking for wildlife but on this flight Betsy saw a big grizzly bear lumbering along the shores of the Nazina.  I’ve seen one distant moose.

The old Kennecott mine buildings. They are now repairing roofs to keep it in suspended state of decay.

We landed in McCarthy where I suffered from big-tire-envy. Just about everyone had big tundra tires but me. My tires looked so small. Another difference? Some of those big tires have 3-5 psi in them vs 90 in my nosewheel.

Look at this itty bitty wheels

Betsy and I went to McCarthy / Kennecott back in the 80’s on our honeymoon, when it was an actual ghost town.  It is now a park but still really fun to visit. 

Then, of course, back to Gulkana for the night.

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