And why are they not frozen? Because their hearts are warmed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Welcome to our blog! We hope you enjoy our travels and dialogues as we journey to Anchorage Alaska for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Three weeks ago we had the opportunity to travel to Valdez.  That's Val-DEEZ, not Val-dez, just in case you didn't know.  Valdez is located on an inlet of Prince William Sound directly east of Anchorage and is only 118 miles away.  That is 45 minutes by plane but, if you have to drive it is 300 miles and takes 5 1/2 to 6 hours.  Of course, that's what we did.  We made the trip with another senior missionary couple, the Mayhues.  While we were there we delivered proselyting supplies to the missionaries, attended a baptism they had scheduled and took them out to dinner afterward.  We attended church with them on Sunday and then made our way back to Anchorage.

The drive to Valdez is really beautiful.  From Anchorage you drive up Alaska Highway 1, the Glenn Highway, through Palmer and along the Matanuska River until you pass the Matanuska Glacier, which comes down quite close to the highway.  You continue along to Glenallen and then turn south on Alaska Highway 4.  All along the way there are beautiful mountains, lake and rivers.  For the first part of Highway 4, you drive alongside the Copper River, famous, of course for the salmon that are caught in its lower reaches.  Just before you get to Valdez you drive through Thompson Pass.  It is incredibly beautiful, topping out at about 7,000 feet.  There are a number of waterfalls as you come out of the pass and down to Valdez.

Valdez's claim to fame is that the Alaska Oil Pipeline ends there.  There is a big depot and port on one side of the bay and that's where the oil is transferred to tankers. (remember the Exxon Valdez?)   It is very picturesque, surrounded by mountains, but the only things to do there are work in the oil industry and fish.  There is some tourism, but even that mostly revolves around fishing.  The town was rebuilt in its current location after it was completely demolished by the earthquake of 1964 (and the subsequent tsunami) that destroyed much of Anchorage.  The epicenter of the quake was near Valdez.  It registered 9.2 on the Richter scale, lasted four minutes and was the largest earthquake ever in recorded North America.

Anyway... Here are a whole bunch of pictures.  Of course, none of the pictures of the mountains do them any justice.

Above and below - just two of the big waterfalls, HorseTail and Bridal Veil, along the roadside.  If you look carefully in the lower right corner of the above photo you will see Sisters Taylor and Mayhue.  Just to give you an idea of the size of these waterfalls.

A panorama shot from the waterfront in Valdez across the bay to the oil depot.   Frequently there are humpback whales that feed in this area we were told.   Unfortunately they were fasting this Sunday.

The oil depot across the bay.
A 360 video of the Valdez area taken from the old townsite.  The new Valdez is on the right of the bay in this video.  The oil depot is on the left.

There is some tourism.  This is one of the local tour companies.  I liked their attitude about Valdez and Switzerland.

Okay, that's just a little taste of the incredible beauty of the drive to, and surrounding Valdez.  But you know, of course, that we don't do anything these days without keeping an eye out for the birds.  This trip we were lucky enough to add three new ones to our list!

Hoary Redpoll - flitting around in the bushes outside our motel window.

Surf Scoter - not exactly an attractive bird.  There was a whole flock of them on the bay

Harlequin Duck - this one is a very attractive bird.  Quite colorful.

Harlequin male and female

This "waterfowl" was moored just outside our motel window, too.
U.S Coast Guard Cutter Chandeleur, which Sis. Taylor tells me means candle or light in French.  The young man who was baptized while we were there is a Coast Guardsman stationed here in Valdez.

Of course, we've seen lots of eagles during our stay in Alaska, but here's another one.

And a couple of moose along the highway just outside of town.

1 comment:

  1. This trip looks like a stunning sightseeing feast!! I had to 'catch up' on your blog. It is exciting that Jonathan is coming up to see you. I am sure he will be as anxious to see you as you are him. When I saw him last January he had lost quite a bit of weight. I am sure he will look great to you.
    We are doing well and getting ready for a trip to Disneyland with Sarah, Zeke and kids. Zeke just finished his PT Assistant program and graduates right before we leave.
    Love and prayers to both,