Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wednesday July 6, 2011

Written by Mary Jane and Merrill for Wednesday July 6, 2011
Posted by Merrill on July 7, 2011
Wednesday morning Mary Jane was up bright and early and walked the bike trail along the bridge close to where we parked for the night. While walking she talked to a gentleman riding a bicycle who told her that a bear usually comes by this spot each morning. However all Mary Jane saw was bear tracks. After breakfast we traveled from our “dry Camp site” just outside of Valdez toward Glennallen. Our first stop was at the “Bridal Veil Falls” to get better pictures because the sun was shining on part and the other part was shaded when we came by on our way down to Valdez. As we approached Thompson Pass it began raining and we were in the clouds of fog while going through Thompson Pass. Next we stopped by Blueberry Lake State Recreation Site that is located up on the mountain along Thompson Pass; it is a nice camp ground but it was cold and rainy with the wind blowing over the snow covered mountains. We made another stop at the gift shop at Worthington Glacier.  However that gift shop is about shut down. The nice lady running the shop and Visitors Center told us that she moved from Florida to Alaska 43 years ago “kicking and screaming”. Now her husband is back in Florida for 30 years and she is still here. She also told us about her friend that lives in Valdez who bought and renovated a hotel in Chitina; it sounded interesting so we made a point to stop in at the hotel when we got to Chitina. The rain quit about 12:45 as we were traveling toward Kenny Lake where we stopped and had lunch. We left the R.V. at Kenny Lake and drove the car to Chitina.  Just outside the town there are a lot of fish wheels along the Chitina River. When we got close enough to the fish wheel I (Merrill) walked out and inquired a bit about the procedure and regulations for owning and operating fish wheels. The gentleman that I was talking with said you have to be a resident of Alaska in order to get a permit to operate a fish wheel. I ask him if he lived in this area. That is when he told me that he lives in Walsilla about 250 miles away. The man I was talking to was Chuck Heath (250 miles from his home) and his wife Sally was in the van nearby.  Here I was (4500 miles from my home) in Alaska face to face with Sarah Palin’s parents!!   We introduced ourselves and had a good conversation with the Heath’s and the two guys that were helping them.  Just before we left one of the guys helping Mr. Heath asked if we had a motorhome and did we want any fish? I said sure we would be glad for a fish so they gave us a nice big filleted salmon. We graciously accepted and were on our way.  Guess what we had for supper? Salmon, compliments of Sarah Palin’s parents! The ladies prepared the salmon when we got set up for the night and what a feast we had! We made it back to Glennallen and are set up at the Carlson’s (Stanley’s niece’s) place.   (P.S. from Mary Jane:  Marie was getting nervous about Merrill just talking to strangers and taking up the fishermen’s time so she drove the car over to where  the guys were so they would get the hint to come.  After we left I told Marie she shouldn’t get on to Merrill for talking to strangers – look what we would have missed - another big highlight in our journey in Alaska!)
Chuck Heath, Sally Heath & Stanley Shirk

1 comment:

  1. I am really enjoying following along on your trip! It almost feels like we get to experience a bit of what you are enjoying! :)
    How cool that you got to meet Sarah's parents! What's the chance of that!? I had to laugh at the way Marie tried to get Merrill to stop talking to strangers and taking up their time (sounds like something I would do)....and look at what you almost missed! Just a reminder to me, not to be so much that way! ;)