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The Thompson Pass – a hard decision

The Thompson Pass – a hard decision

Southcentral Alaska we had reached, now there was only one more step: Let’s hit Thompson Pass and get out on our skis! After so many travel days we were definitely ready for some outdoor activities and some fresh air. Like already reported the weather for this area was predicted to be rather gloomy. Anyhow, we decided to move further as long as the weather was still ok because here, in Tok, where we were right now, the sun was shining. Surprisingly, the sun still shone quite often on our further trip towards Valdez. Once more it was quite impressive to travel through the mountains in some moody light variations.

Views like that made the journey through Alaska pretty spectacular.

It got even better. We reached a vast valley which was one of the access routes into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and the sky there was blue.

Alaska is vast, just vast.

Just blue. No sign of bad weather. We took advantage of this and enjoyed some pretty spectacular vistas before we pulled over to camp in this area. 

The next day we awoke to even clearer conditions and gazed at one mountain that was still covered in clouds the day before. Wow, a volcano! And it’s big!

Ouh wow, a volcano in the middle of nowhere.

That mountain was Mount Drum, a 3661 meter high volcano. Impressive was, that we were only on about 500 meters of elevation so this giant was towering over 3000 meters high in front of us. Not bad at all!

Motivated by the great weather we continued our trip until we reached Glennallen. There we stopped for a while and ventured further towards the coast. Driving a bit longer through this vast landscape we approached the next mountains. The Chugach Mountains, home of the Thompson Pass. With excitement, we gazed out of our windshield on the snow-covered summits but also had to realize that the sky quickly turned darker and cloudier. Even worse, it started to rain. All the way up to the pass. What the hell was that? Not much investigation was necessary to figure out, that the snow here was as terrible as at the White Pass. Winter was over here as well. This got confirmed when we met a group of people up there from which two of them lived in Valdez and explained to us how bad of a winter they had. The season for the heliskiers up there had barely lasted longer than one and a half months this year. Then spring came early. We had chosen the wrong year for our mission. You can‘t imagine how disappointed I was about the fact, that we had to pack away our skis and switch fully to summer activities. Part of our Alaska adventure was the skiing which was now officially finished before we even started it. 

Not really having a good plan for now, we drove on over the pass down into the valley and to Valdez.

Quick stop on the other side of the pass for some waterfalls along the road.

Except for all the oil industry, that was more or less the only reason this place existed, it was nice down there at the coast. Well, it was still raining. Always! 

A quick break from the rain for some photos, then it started to pour down again.

Still, we decided to go for a little walk through a park on the coast and there we met a true Alaskan luminary. This old guy tried to explain the world to us but somehow ended up letting us know that there was a flight show at the airport over the weekend. Mira, who was totally into airplanes and everything that could fly was immediately excited, I was at least interested in seeing something new up here. So it came that we waited through the entire Friday and did some office work to attend the competition on Saturday. That one truly had some spectacular highlights. Bush-planes that could start and land on less than 50 Meters, aerobatic planes, and a few crazy experimental machines. Definitely something new! 

A flight show in Alaska is truly a popular event.

And besides that, we had enough time to come up with a new plan to move on. There was a true Alaskan wilderness adventure waiting for us, so stay up to date!

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