Two weeks after we arrived in Anchorage, Mark and I hitched a ride to Whittier with our amenable brother-in-law, Jerome, where we boarded a ferry for an eight-hour trip to Cordova, in Prince William Sound.
We took a mountain tunnel to get to Whittier, passing the Portage Glacier, which is shrinking rapidly but still beautiful. This morning, a layer of thin ice covered the lake in front of the glacier.
The Aurora ferry sped away from Whittier, down a channel with the snow-covered Chugash Mountains rising behind it.
After a sun-blessed sail across the Sound, we pulled into Cordova at 7:30 pm and walked a half a mile to the Reluctant Fishermen Inn.
The economy of Cordova, which is only reachable by boat or plane, centers on fishing. The season would not begin for another week, but the harbor was busy with crews preparing their boats, the gillnets and seines.
The town of about 2,500 people was lively, with a huge new community center and library, built with funds from Exxon following the massive oil spill from one of its tankers in Prince William Sound. The Exxon Valdez oil spill is also depicted in a “shame pole” built by a local Eyak carver and on display at the Ilanka Cultural Center museum.
We hiked up a hill outside town the next day and walked through snow for the last thousand feet. The view from the top was spectacular .
The majestic bald eagle is almost common place in the Cordova area. In this photo taken during a hike, you can see five. Other eagles trolled the seafront, looking for tasty morsels.
Our second day in Cordova we rented a car and drove 35 miles west, following the Copper River which flowed out of mountains that were the site of huge copper mines in the early 1900s. A flood had washed out the bridge, cutting the only road out of Cordova.
The Copper River will be full of salmon by June.
Back at the Reluctant Fisherman that night, we feasted on fish – oysters, tuna, ceviche and a sushi roll.
It was a short trip, but one worth repeating because we left too many trails unexplored along the glaciers and hikes we want to take.
Listen as Johnny Cash & Lynn Anderson tear it up.
Where we are today.