Travelling the Glenn Highway in Alaska
Our travels viewing the beautiful mountains of Alaska
continued as we made our way along the Glenn Highway to Anchorage.
|Tolsona Winderness Campground|
We had a nice shady campsite at Tolsona Wilderness
Campground, nestled in the trees with the Tolsona Creek only feet away. We’d been told to be prepared for lots of
flies and mosquitoes on these travels but although they might be most expected
here, we did not have any problems with them all summer.
We were south of the Alaska Range and travelling west but
still enjoying views of mountains off in the distance. I believe these ones were part of the Chugach
Mountain range, which covers a massive part of southern Alaska.
We did not do any glacier exploring but Glenn Highway is one
of the few roads that give easy access up to a glacier so you can walk on
it. I did not see any identifying signs
but this may be the Knik Glacier. This
icefield is one of the largest at 40 km (25 miles) in length and 8 km (5 miles)
wide and sits at the northern end of the Chugach Mountains. Access is only available through the Knik
The Glenn Highway, #1 begins at Glennallen and extends past
Anchorage, AK. It was named in honor of
the leader of the Cook Inlet Exploring Expedition. In 1898, Congress had directed the army to
locate the most practical route overland in Alaska. The Gold Rush had arrived and there were few
roads so Capt. Glenn began the journey but met many difficulties and although they
learned geographical information, there were no routes found .
|A drunken forest|
A very common tree in Alaska is the Black Spruce tree. Due to the permafrost and temperature changes
in that, the trees often lean over and therefore look like and are called the
drunken forest. This is a small example
of the many we saw on these travels.
The Matanuska Glacier is about 160 km (100 mi) from
Anchorage, Alaska on Hwy 1. It is a
valley glacier that is 43 km (27 mi) long and 6.4 (4 mi) wide and is the
largest glacier accessible by car in the USA.
|Calm lakeside lunch break|
We pulled over to a rest area on the side of the road,
which also happened to be lakeside. The
tranquille lake had several other visitors stopping for lunch, as well. This drive on Glenn Highway is a big tourist
attraction due to the glaciers and the views.
We had tried on several occasions to see a musk ox in the
wild, but to no avail. We came upon a
Musk Ox Ranch so decided we would stop to have a close up look at these large
animals. There was a museum with a
stuffed one, done beautifully, with lots of other memorabilia in there
concerning the musk ox. We were not able
to visit the live musk ox without a tour but the next one available meant we
had to wait too long so we had to make do with taking some pictures through the
fence, and that is the closest we ever got to a living musk ox!
The Knik River is just one of over 12,000 in Alaska but most
of the others we had seen up to this point had been braided rivers with little water
flowing through. It was nice to see this
big river full of water as we crossed over it.
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