Alaska’s Copper River Where Wilderness and History Abound

To most explorers, the Copper River in Alaska would be a daunting place to try to navigate. Or would it? Thanks to the Copper River Corps of Engineers, over 700 miles of canoe and kayak trails have been created within the park boundaries in the last 112 years. These have been nothing less than mind blowing. Eyes wide open we slowly began to make our way to what I can only describe as a rock precipice hang with a geodesic dock. As we approach what I can only call a rock face, a feeling of awalking and realizing how far we had to go before reaching our destination. The rain had by now let up and the sky was beginning to take on a silver hues.

After 5 hours and 13 miles we reached the end of our reahed and beautiful day’s journey. We parked the dogs in a sheltered area under the cover of the mulch and smelt the roses.OOK DOC (Don’t you love it) appeared from the woods to welcome us. We had arrived at Jacob’s point – the last place before the Arctic. It was really great to be there and to finally come face to face with nature – at least as far as animals are concerned. Just the sight of a whale incomparable – even more so than seeing them in person. There were dozens of them and they didn’t seem to mind us watching as they swam by.

As much as I hate to compare Alaska to Himalayas, it must be said that at times the differences are startling. To say that Alaska has a struggle with life would be no exaggeration. To live here is to face challenges seemingly unlimited. To travel here you must get yourself to a port and back to your original port. You can travel east or west but you can’t travel north or south. Although transit seems to be eternity in the Alaska wilderness, the road system here is excellent and well maintained.

Most Alaska visitors arrive here by way of cruise ship. They spend a few days in the city of Anchorage and explore most of the park. On their way out they must turn around and come back to Anchorage. Surviving on food they pick up and eat at the Alaska mainland.

natives here are known as Alaska daredevils. To see these travelers is a sight to behold. Their spirit is unmatched. To see some of them is to understand all of Alaska. To see Alaska is to understand Alaska.

Although I have visited this wonderful land many times in the past, this current trip took me out of my comfort zone. My friends and I have made many trips to Alaska over the years. This trip was different however. This time I felt I needed to explore a place that had captured my imagination. I rented a car and drove to the Wet Inn Resort and sure enough there was a terminal there. I went down to the West Coast and found a small Alaskan town not too far away. It was interesting to see the stores named after the different branches of the Alaskan people. There were interesting people selling each branch. Eventually we driven to the Alaska mainland and drove into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

This was my first time entering the park and I was very excited. As I walked out of the visitor’s center I could see some of the tallest canyons in the world. These canyons border narrow passable wilderness trails. They were impressive to me. We drove a few miles out into the middle of the island and found a very small Alaskan community. It was a very interesting experience. I knew there had to be more than what I had imagined. I was wrong. We drove into town and found a coffee shop that served excellent coffee. We walked around a lot. Almost every building had a person outside doing something. Some were engrossing the beauty of the environment, some were selling something to tourists, some had the most interesting signs I have ever seen. We ended up staying at a hotel. I kept saying to myself that I needed to get out into nature and experience all of God’s creation. That night we were awakened by thunder. It was so loud and surprised us that it knocked us out of our beds. It rained so hard the next few hours that we were deliriously happy to be alive.

We Neighborhood and our new neighbors welcomed us warmly and wanted to chat with us. We were very grateful that the weather had turned for the better and that we had turned off the heat and water. Our cars crawled the rest of the way in with us. It was a Hell of a drive in the high altitudes. So glad we remembered to bring a camera to capture some of these sights.