On the Road Adventures
Monday, August 3, 2009
August 2 - Squirrel Creek
The day dawned bright, sunny and cloudless. We went down to a little café that offered free coffee and wi-fi and had breakfast there. When we got back to the campground, someone said there were two salmon in the creek, so we watched them for a while. No swarms of fish like at Quartz Creek, but these were kings, and about twice the size of the ones we saw in Quartz Creek.
We had planned to drive down to the little town of Chitina (pronounced CHIT-na) down in the Copper River valley, but first went back to the viewpoint on the highway to look at the mountains. Today was truly the Chamber of Commerce photo-op with no clouds at all on Drum and Wrangle and only a smattering of clouds on the third mountain, Stanford. After getting a few good shots of the mountains, we headed to Chitina.
The Copper River is a big, dirty body of water. According to the Roadside Geology of Alaska, the river is eroding away over 700,000 tons of silt a day! No wonder it looks like you could walk across it without getting your feet wet. So it’s amazing that salmon come up this river, and in such numbers that Copper River salmon are almost a breed to themselves and highly prized for the quality of their flesh. Alaskan citizens who have a subsistence permit can set up fish wheels on the river to scoop the fish out of the water for their own use. There were several fish wheels operating, but we never saw a fish caught by one while we sat there and watched.
We came back to Copper Center and had dinner at the Copper Center Princess Lodge. After talking with some of the guests there, we sure are glad we’re doing Alaska on our own schedule instead of the cruise line’s!