Many of the structures of the town itself, mostly rebuilt in the late 1960’s after a huge earthquake devastated the original town, are pretty plain. In fact, the little office of the Lu-Lu Belle is one of the prettiest buildings in town. But the harbor and the surroundings more than make up for that. And that is what we focused on.
One day we drove back out over the road we came in on and stopped once again at some of the beautiful waterfalls right near town. There are not many places that have this much beauty right next to the road.
We drove over Thompson Pass to the Worthington Glacier. There is a short walk to an overlook that lets you get up close and personal. There is also a path on the glacier that looked relatively easy but it was pretty rocky so we chose not to take it because we had Angel with us.
We also saw ducks with ducklings and a couple of trumpeter swans in a pond by the road.
The drive on Richardson Highway is worth doing multiple times, especially as the light and the weather changes. The combination of towering mountains, waterfalls, ponds, lakes and a river is stunning.
Back in town, we drove up Mineral Creek Road, known for more waterfalls and the remains of a stamp mill at the end of the road. The dirt road quickly becomes passable only by high clearance vehicles, so we left our car behind and rode our mountain bikes.
There are six beautiful waterfalls on the mountains on both sides of the road, absolutely gorgeous.
We did not make it to the stamp mill mostly because I am a terrible mountain biker and was really slow. But some folks that passed us on a dirt bike returned and told us that the road was washed out and impassable before the stamp mill. The bike ride was still lovely and we were both glad to have seen the waterfalls.
In between our explorations, we met some fellow fulltimers who came to Valdez. We had met Jack and Karen as part of our group activities last October at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, and we recently realized that we were both in Alaska. When they arrived in Valdez, they signed up for the Lu-Lu Belle and camped at the same little RV park that we were staying in.
The next day when they went out on the Lu-Lu Belle was actually the clearest weather that we had while in Valdez and so Hector took some photographs of the Lu-Lu Belle and our friends departing that morning.
We got together with Jack and Karen for dinner that evening after their cruise. They have been in Alaska several more weeks than us and shared some great information on several places that we are planning to visit. We had a great time together and are hoping to reconnect on the latter part of our Alaska itinerary.
We continued to enjoy walks around the town and found a nice little overlook by the Civic Center. Less than a half a mile long, the walk goes up to a covered picnic table with a great view of the harbor and then back to town.
And we spent some more time observing the sea otters and the goings on at the harbor, which continued to get busier as fishing season approaches. There was always something entertaining going on and it was nice that all the docks were open to the public to stroll around on.