Saturday, August 29, 2009

Alaska 2009 - Part 2, The Copper River

The next morning, it wasn't as rainy and there were small patches of blue sky. It was worth getting up and going for a walk. So, while my brother and dad headed down river to fish, I took a little walk to seek berries & photo ops.
Copper River from camp

Copper River video - check out the large eddy and how fast it was moving. One little slip into this frigid, silty river, with nothing but slick rocks to grasp, and you're pretty much dead.

Berries found... technically, Tim found them first along with this empty nest.
Raspberry nest? ;-)

Here's the collection of raspberries from 10 minutes or so of wandering. They made a nice apres-breakfast dessert.
Rocky Cup o' Raspberries

Right in our camp, we had high bush cranberries... not quite so yum, but if you like cranberries, they're not bad.
High Bush Cranberries

At half a mile or so into my walk, I came across this pond created by a beaver. The trail seemed to go away from the river at this point and it wasn't audible. Check out the fireweed (pink flowers). It seems like in the Chitina area, summer is about over. After the blooms are at the tip (as they are) and the flower goes to seed, basically turning to cotton, they say winter is six weeks away. I'd say from this image, winter is seven to eight weeks away.
Fireweed Pond

Sure looks like fall has arrived!
Chitina trail, Spirit Mountain in background

And now, back to the river... if you look close (or click to Flickr & hit the all sizes (zoom) icon) you'll note two figures down at the river. That might be Tim & Dad. I don't know, they were too far away to tell. But they scrambled down the cliff and scrambled back up. Again, Spirit Mountain is in the background.
Fishing the Copper River

A little beyond where they fished, I came across this building. I assume it's a railroad depot of sorts that is being slowly reclaimed back by the land. You can see a lot of that happening in Alaska.
Hungry Earth

I went a further than this spot, but I should have gone even further than I did. I apparently missed out on Haley Creek & a railroad tunnel. Oh well, next time. It's not like I'll be doing the fishing!

Along the trail that day, I spotted a black-capped chickadee, a dark-eyed junco, an unknown warbler, and a red squirrel.
Black-capped Chickadee

It wasn't all that birdy there. You would think with all the berries available, there would be more, but seeing as how fall is in the air, I guess they already fled a bit further south where summer & more food is still around. The evening before, I spotted a Yellow Warbler and another unknown warbler. They were too hard to get an eyeball on, let alone the camera lens.

Next up, more Copper River pics (after leaving Chitina) & the road to Valdez.


Linda in Erie said...

That area looks so untouched except of course, for the depot. The depot's paint still looks good even though nature is trying to reclaim it. I'm glad you noted the figures in the photo as that really changes how big the river is. That eddy looks awesome and scary in your video. It sure is beautiful there and being able to go pick wild berries makes it that much more special!

Mary C said...

Your choice of photos certainly does the area justice and then some. Glad you enjoyed your vacation, and now sharing it with others.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Heidi, your photos are all breath-taking. You have a wonderful eye for capturing the panorama.


Leedra said...

All of the pics are beautiful, but love the pic of Fireweed Pond.

Heidi said...

Thanks Linda. Oddly enough, someone comes along and repaints that depot periodically. They don't seem to clear the brush, the windows are plastic and broken, it's odd anyone would paint it, but they do.

Thanks Mom, I probably ought to quit stalling too :)

Thanks Lynne! Sorry it's taken me this long to come back to the blog!

Thanks Leedra :) I think the location of the pond was prettier than the picture conveyed. I struggled with my photography this trip.

Adam R. Paul said...

Very lovely scenery! Now I know where the Copper River salmon sushi I had a few months back came from ;)

Heidi said...

Thanks Adam :) Well, it almost made it up there ;-)

But seriously, chances are yours came from down river 80 or so miles as the commercial spots are in the Delta. Same river for sure though.

RuthieJ said...

Wow Heidi, your photos are amazing! Those berries look delicious too. So did you have to worry about bears at all?

Heidi said...

I suppose it was possible for bears to be there, but my brother said no danger of it there. I've been there twice now and not only have there been no bears, but never saw any evidence either.

I'd think they would be in easier salmon-catching locations.


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