Sunday, Aug 19th – We retraced our drive….south on the Dalton Hwy, south on the Elliott Hwy, to Fairbanks (where we stopped at a carwash and washed off the truck and camper). Then, on towards Anchorage. We stopped for the night at the campground in Wasilla that we had stayed at before. A total drive of about 400 miles.
Monday, Aug 20th- We dropped Jade off at TLC Kennel in Palmer, then drove the last 35 miles to Anchorage. We settled in at the Centennial Park Campground, now a familiar ‘home base’. We were eager to get our laundry, packing, and other ‘chores’ done before we set our on or Copper River rafting trip on Tuesday. I was also eager to spend some time ‘processing’ the visit with Laura and Dave, sorting the photos, and writing up the posts before we began the next adventure.
We were going on a guided 5 night rafting trip on the Copper River with Copper Oar Outfitters, beginning at Chitina, just off the Richardson Hwy and ending around Cordova, just before the river empties into Prince William Sound. This section of the Copper River runs a distance of about 100 river miles, through a fairly remote section of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
The overnight rafting trip that we had on the Matanuska River had been a good introduction to guided rafting trips, so we knew a little about what to expect. A 5 night trip, however, necessitates making sure that you have everything that one might need. We tend to get a bit nervous about this, so it was good to have the day to get ready. We had dinner out at the Olive Garden (yes, they have these in Alaska), and got to bed early.
Tuesday, Aug 21th – We had an early start for the day. The Copper Oar guide was picking us up at the campground at 7 am. We would leave our truck and camper parked at the campground in Anchorage, then we would fly from Cordova back to Anchorage at the end of our trip, and take a cab back to the campground. We were ready on time, and eager…..but Allison, the guide, called to tell us that there had been a delay. When Allison, and Mark and Reeve, 2 of the other guests whom she had picked up, arrived at 8am, we breathed a big sigh….and loaded up. It is a strangely uncomfortable feeling to leave all of our stuff in our ‘home away from home’, and place ourselves completely in someone else’s hands.
We were driving back through Palmer and east on Hwy 1 (the Glenn Hwy) towards Glennallen, then we would drive south on the Richardson Hwy to Chitina. About 1 hour into the drive, I realized that I had not packed my ID. I wasn’t sure what kind of flight we were returning on from Cordova, the Copper Oar office had made all of these arrangements. I had not wanted to keep up with my purse or other important stuff on the river, and I knew that Fred had his wallet and credit card should we need something. I had totally forgotten about needing an ID if we were flying on a commercial plane.
I felt so stupid…..and pretty well sunk. But there was nothing much to be done until we got to Chitina. Fred was reassuring. He said that, worse case, he would fly back to Anchorage, then come back with my ID to get me. Gotta love him…. : )
So, putting all that out of my mind as best as I could I settled back to enjoy the ride. It was about 4 hours, Anchorage to Chitina. When we pulled in at the river access area, we were a bit surprised. We had expected to go by some sort of office for Copper Oar. We later found out that their ‘office’ is in McCarthy, 60 miles further down a very rough gravel road. With a leap of faith….we unloaded our stuff from the van and joined the others on the beach……