I awaken two hours before anyone else to slightly lifted cloud cover and a cold morning. I perched on a the rock ridge with my sleeping bag and listened to an entire O.A.R. concert before anyone else stirred. We had a quick meal, packed the car, and headed north to explore the glacier and do some more fishing.
The Worthington Glacier is a short 10 minute drive away and is largely a mystery to us. There is a little tourist shop in the parking lot, a fenced-in observation area with a few trails on the other side of it. Are we allowed to climb the fence? Are we allowed to hike the trails? Are we allowed to hike the glacier? We have no idea. So we jump the fence and start to climb up the mountain to the south.
Half-way up, it’s decision time. Dan and Kevin decide to slide down the steep embankment and head to the glacier. Jayson and I decide to take the trail back. After a few minutes of hiking, Jayson finds easier access to the glacier and goes to meet Kevin and Dan. I head down to the base of the glacier on my own and start snapping photos.
I’m taking photos along the base of the glacier. The sediment in the glacier shows why the rock bed is so heavily work. I start talking to a couple of retired tourists and they tell me they just saw a couple of guy walk across the glacier about half way up. I start scanning and see Dan and Jayson on the far side and Kevin coming back down the original side.
Apparently, out on the ice, Kevin decided it was too difficult/slippery to cross. Dan was determined to walk across and Jayson decided it was more interesting to go with Dan than with Kevin. I’m slightly jealous that I didn’t get to cross it, but I’m also glad I didn’t slide to my death due to slippery boots. Luckily everyone makes it out unscathed save my soggy right boot during the stream crossing.
We head to Tiekel River Lodge for lunch and it is the best cooking of the trip. We chat-up the diner chef and he tells us the best fishing is back south, at the lake near the glacier on the east side of the highway. We head back south to see if the fish really will jump out the water onto our hooks.
After 2 hours of fishing in 40-degree weather, we have the one fish that Dan has caught, a smaller female lake trout. Our fingers, noses, and ears are numb and we’re ready to find a place to camp. So we head back to Glenallen with our second and final catch. $220 for fishing licenses means that we’ve caught 2 $110 fish. Oh well, we had fun doing it.
As we were fishing, a bald eagle flew overhead and I didn’t have my camera with me. I rushed over to my backpack, snapped on my 80-300mm lens, and was able to capture one descent shot after the eagle had already passed.
We stop by the grocery store and Dan get what he needs to prepare the fish. Kevin and I head to get beer and ice while Dan prepares the fish. Beer; no problem. Ice; the entire town of Glennallen is out. That’s right, there is snow visible on all of the nearby mountains but all 4 grocery stores are out of ice. As a last resort, we stop by the Caribou Restaurant and they take pity on us. We get a free garbage bag full of ice. Cold beer is a hard-won luxury.
Dan cooks the fish and it is excellent. By far the best fish of the trip; perfectly seasoned and cooked. It’s amazing the transformation Dan has undergone. He was ready to call it quits the first and now he a glacier conquering, fish catching explorer.
After dinner, we play a quick game of basketball. At 11:30 PM. Unfortunately for me, it’s the hardest workout of the week. Sure, I hiked a glacier earlier that day and only had 4 hours sleep the night before (and the night before. . .), but that wasn’t the main reason for my pain. I hadn’t played basketball in 4 years and it showed. I’m getting older and more out-of-shape. My team (the two tall guys) win the game but I’m definitely the loser. My feet, legs, back, and stomach are all complaining. Time for bed. But not before applying more deet.
Next time you want to come and experience Alaska, send me an email first and I’ll tell you where the fish are running, what to bring (a mosquito head net for example), and what to leave behind (go with the bear spray and leave the hand held cannons at home, it weighs less and is much more reliable at stopping the bear).
I hate it when visitors don’e have a good experience in this Great State!
I am planning to visit Alaska this year by motorcycle from Vancouver. This trip has been made that much more difficult since I recently moved back to Toronto to be with family.
It’s nice to read about the different adventures that people have when they travel this far north to either fish or hike (or do both as Carlton Bale has done. For me I want to experience my 2 greatest passions — motorcycle travel and fishing.
The comments by Jim A are the rule rather than the exception in these areas. Everyone goes out of their way to help whether you are in major trouble (vehicle breakdown) or just being inconvenienced (lack of ice for beer). Every time I travel to the great white north I have similar experiences.
Looks like day 6 paid off for you. I need to plan a trip very soon….
Great pictures! I especially like that pic of the glacier front