Thursday, July 06, 2006

Alaska Day 51

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 Valdez AK Log 0 Miles
Today is history day. We visit the Old Valdez exhibit of the Valdez Museum to start our day. We see many interesting artifacts from the original Valdez location that was destroyed by earthquake in 1964. One thing that caught Herb's attention was a sled and an oil barrel. It seems that the first barrel of oil delivered to Valdez from Prudhoe Bay was not through the pipleline. A year before the pipeline was completed, the Lion's club had a fund raiser that had a dog sled team of 21 dogs bring a barrel of oil from the North Slope to Valdez. Due to weather, the planned 800 mile trip took the musher over 1100 miles.

Next we went to the Valdez glacier and saw that the old town was built in the floodplain of the melting glacier. At the time of the earthquake, the town was already fighting erosion from the glacier.

Near that area we came upon the restored (appeared to have been before the earthquake) Gold Rush Cemetery, where we saw a plaque noting that a mulatto was buried outside the Pioneer Cemetery. Her grave was west of it, toward the Valdez Arm of Prince William Sound. The cemetery was pretty overgrown with brush and grass, and we did not venture inside. The new cemetery farther down the road showed evidence of earthquake damage, with many headstones tilting or lying on the ground, and a wooden one was split.

We drove close to the Valdez Marine Terminal, where the pipeline ends, just because it is there. For security, no one is allowed to enter the area. There are city sponsored camping spaces for $12/day along the road, and we saw many fishermen set up for camping and fishing in the Sound.

In the main Valdez Museum we saw an exhibit on the Northern Pacific Fur Fish, which grew the fur to adapt to the frigid waters. New information just in suggests that the Fur Fish had gone thru further adaptation, as the latest specimen caught was covered with Gore-Tex with a Thinsulate lining.

There is an interesting mural on a building across from the Post Office named "The All American Route." It pictures a miner panning for gold, and is reminiscent of the misleading advertisements to lure gold rushers through a non-existant route thru Valdez to the Klondike goldfields.

Pictures are here.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

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