Saturday, July 7, 2012

"That's a Bear!"

I took a trip out to the Kennicott Copper Mines with some friends last weekend. Kennicott is about 300 miles East of Anchorage in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. The last 60 miles are on a rough dirt road, infamous for getting flat tires because it sits atop the abandoned railway. The mine was started in the early 1900s and closed in 1938. The stories about it's history and the mine itself is amazing for it's age.

We left Anchorage Friday evening and after a stop in Palmer to pick up groceries and a few sight seeing stops we were well on our way. We set up camp our first night at around 3am. To get to the town of McCarthy or into the Kennicott Mines, it's either a 4.5 mile walk/bike from the end of the road or you can take a shuttle. Personal vehicles are left at the end of the road.

We hiked about a mile and a half past Kennicott along the Root Glacier Trail to the Jumbo Creek primitive camping area to set up camp and stash our food in the bear-safe container. Our camp looked out over the Kennicott Glacier with views of the Root Glacier in the distance. We organized our gear and started hiking up to the Bonanza Mine around 4:30pm. It was about 11 miles round trip between getting to the trailhead and the hike itself. Unfortunately, we had very low visibility and heavy rain. We got back to camp around 11pm cold, wet, and hungry.

Sunday morning was a little nicer. There were signs of a bear in the area the next morning, but we did a good job at packing away all our food and cooking far from camp. We packed up and headed back into Kennicott for a tour of the mines. The tour of the mill was incredible. 14 stories- the tallest wooden building in the country. We were all pretty interested in the way it worked considering we were a group of 7 engineers.

I will need to make another trip out there with more time and better weather hopefully. There is still plenty to see.

Check out my trip photos below. Generally I don't like to do any major edits to my photo work, but I decided to do a black & white and red contrast on three of the photos from the mine tour... I loved the vividly painted red buildings. You'll be able to tell which photos were edited.

For more information on the Kennicott Copper Mines, go to this link:
You can find more information and history, historical photos, and engineering drawings.


liverpoolarry said...

Amazing photography!!! Thanks for sharing your adventure.

Traveller said...

Wow great shots, looks like you had a fab time. The national park looks gorgeous!

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