Cordova to Peavine

Posted by on Jun 22, 2013 in Alaska 2013 | Comments Off on Cordova to Peavine

After another short night, we grab breakfast at the local cafe, check out of the Prince Willy and hike about a mile to the airport, carrying our gear. No cab today. I think the driver had other things to do. We spend over an hour fueling including filling our spare fuel bags so we are again very heavy. The wind is 15 knots and we are at sea level so we get off quickly despite the weight, and head toward the Copper River drainage. We cross the Million Dollar Bridge which was almost destroyed by an advancing glacier. The use of huge amounts of explosives were needed to stave off the encroaching ice. The bridge served the copper mines in the area around McCarthy. Eventually, the ice receded and the mining died out until now the bridge seems to be mostly a tourist attraction. Flying upriver, we climb to 8500 to clear the mountains between us and the Chitina River drainage.

This area holds several backcountry public use cabins located along or near gravel landing strips. These cabins are very basic, containing sleeping platforms and a wood stove. They all have an outhouse nearby as well. The main benefit provided is bear protection and a quick, comfortable place to camp. In the winter, they can be a lifesaver for stranded pilots and hikers who need to get warm and dry. We land at Peavine where one of the larger cabins is located. It has three bunk bed platforms, a table and a stove. We will use this as our base camp for two days while we explore the area.

Four trips are necessary to move my gear from the airplane, but the resulting weight reduction means much better performance in and out of these short, rough strips. Peavine sits up a side canyon from the main river channel. The canyon, while comfortably wide enough for us to maneuver for a landing, rises four thousand feet or more above the cabin. The scale and scenery are magnificent. Once again we find ourselves shooting photos and video in a feeble effort to capture the images of sunlit rock walls with waterfalls cascading downward to deep green slopes below.

After a camp lunch of Mountain House meals and trail mix, we take off for a round of backcountry strip visits. First up, Glacier Creek, where we hike to across the gravel moraine to the edge of the creek. The water is fast and high, full of silt from the grinding glaciers above.




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