Exploring Alaska: Historic Ghost Town and Gold Mine!

May 15, 2018

Alaska is full of so many remote relics that remind us of some of the most hardy, resourceful and gumption filled people to have lived. People who hiked over snowy mountains. They forged rivers. They lived without so many of the things we might call "necessities". Part of me is very much inspired by their tenacity, pioneer spirit and courage. To be honest though there is another part of me that is baffled by how and why anyone would choose so much pain and hard, hard work all to just barely survive! From the isolated locations full of danger to the primitive lifestyles...to the lack of connection with the outside world I just don't think I could do it. (Even if gold, or copper as is the case of Kennicott Mine, was involved). 

With that said in the case of Kennicott they did amazing job quickly setting up the town so that it would be lacking very little - they had a store, hospital, school, homes with indoor plumbing. Hard not to admire people that make an area as remote as it was and make it home. I just love walking through the old historical buildings that have been so carefully rehabilitated and learning more from these incredible pioneers. We spent a good part of our time reading their letters and looking at the beautifully preserved artifacts that were left behind.

Little Phil was so cute filling our his Jr. Ranger book!
The smell of the musty wood and the sound of the creaking hardwood floors as my boots shuffle from plaque to plaque where pictures of wrinkled faces and twinkling eyes greet me as if they know something I don't. And yet here I am, the one reading how they ended up, yet still feeling, if not knowing, they've got the upper hand on me. We have a staring contest old Silas and me. He wins, I admit defeat and move onto examine another weather worn face. These people were really remarkable! If just a tad bit crazy. I'm wishing that I could have just an ounce of their grit!

The drive to McCarthy is truly one of a kind. I love the sound of the gravel as we plug along at a steady 35 miles per hour for miles and miles. We realized that if we went straight there we'd get there later much later than we'd like and wouldn't have much time to look around so we decided to stay at the Copper River Princess Lodge which is about half way to McCarthy. As per the usual the Princess was so enjoyable and I'm so glad we chose to stay there. They are known for choosing the best spots for their lodges and the Copper River lodge is no exception...oh and their restaurants are always so good!

It was a much better plan as far as time of day goes, but when we arrived to the walking bridge and the shuttle that takes you into McCarthy we found out that it was the LAST day of the season to go to Kennicott! Close one! We did end up missing out on taking the last tour of the actual mine itself so that's on my list for next time. 

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the largest national park in America and it is also the least visited. If you don't know much about the park then jump over to this NPS page and prepare to be impressed! It's over 13 MILLION ACRES. Next time we visit we want to get in the air because the park is SO huge and is mostly undeveloped so seeing it from the sky would be such a great way to see some of it's most iconic sights!

We ended our trip...or I should say our last couple hours before getting back in the car for the 8 hour drive home...walking around McCarthy and grabbing an amazing meal at The Potato! If you go to McCarthy make sure to go...there were 6 of us and we each LOVED the food!

Watch the video to see a compilation of our time in Alaska this past fall - including gold mining in Hope (post on that coming soon!) and meet our bus driver Cosmo and few other awesome locals who made us pour overs! You'll also get to see some of the most beautiful drone footage of gorgeous Kennicott Mine that we took from private property inside the park (thank you to the guide service for letting us hang out on your land!).

Peace, joy, and all that sincere & fluffy stuff, 

Allie Esther

Post a Comment

Latest Instagrams

© Allie Esther. Design by FCD.