Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Alaska Day 49

Monday July 3, 2006 Valdez Alaska Log 0 Miles
An early morning trike ride took us by a 30 foot carving of an Indian sculpture by Peter Toth. A publicity brochure noted that he carved a sculpture in each of the 50 states, as his tribute to the plight of the American Indian, and that Louisiana Pulp Co. donated the wood. We cannot verify that donation, as the plaque reads that the log was a 30 ft tall by 10 ft wide Sitka spruce tree. Perhaps Louisiana Pacific of Ketchikan paid for it ....

Later we triked the bike path to the salmon viewing spot, hosted by the Forest Service, but were told that it is a little early for them to run here. Nice ride anyway and we got to see lots of wildflowers, which Wilma's camera can't pass up.

Beginning our study of the area, we saw a film on building the Alaska Pipeline and one on the Good Friday 1964 earthquake. We cannot begin to describe what we saw on the earthquake. There was footage of the tremor as it was happening, because someone happened to be filming at that moment. So much destruction. 0ne interesting thing we learned about the pipeline construction is that where it goes underground, it is for its protection from avalanches. Instead of running in a straight line, it tacks, to allow for expansion during earthquakes and differences in temperature. We saw welders on top of the pipe being held only by safety belts, and it pointed to the risks and hardships the construction workers had. One guy laughingly commented on the film that if anything else was to be built through Thompson Pass, he would not be there.

We are enjoying our trip so much, and Elsie gave us a tip: she said someone may tell us that when the blooms on the fireweed are open all the way to the top of the flower stalk, it will snow -- so we are watching that carefully!!! We'll know it is time to head south.

Pictures are here.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

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