Wrangell St. Elias, the largest of the National Parks. The picture above shows the vast acreage of this park. We only began to see this park.
We headed down from Fairbanks with a 9 hour drive. We stopped to smell the flowers and view the glaciers and mountains on our way down. It was a beautiful drive down to Copper Center where we stopped at the Wrangell Park Visitor Center. We then began our trek into really back country where we hopped on a dirt road for 60 miles to take us to a small town in the southeastern corner of the park called McCarthy.
The road, the cabin and the town were all an amazing adventure. We stayed in a lovely cabin that we found on AirB&B. No electricity, propane lights, an outdoor shower (it was heated water) and of course an outhouse. It was the first time Michael was roughing it this way. He was nervous at first and now looking back it was one of his favorite places to stay. This also had to do with the two great little villages near our cabin, McCarthy and Kennicott. Kennicott is a 20 minute shuttle bus ride from McCarthy. You park on one side of the bridge for $5 a day, walk over the pedestrian bridge and catch the shuttle that runs every 30 minutes. It brings you into the historic mining town of Kennicott. This town has been crumbling but has recently been taken over by the National Park service to be restored into a National Historic Landmark.
You can stop another National Park Visitor Center to get information and trail conditions. We strolled through the town to make our way to the Root Glacier Trail. It was a 5 mile loop hike to the glacier and back. The trail followed the edge of the mountains on one side and the side of the glacier on the other. It was truly magnificent to see the size of the glacier next to the mountain. We had some easy and cheap crampons we bought so we could hike on the glacier. It was absolutely amazing to hike on the glacier and see the different layers and textures of this 300-500 year old ice.
This was a highlight of our vacation. We would come back here in a heartbeat and spend even more time exploring. What an amazing opportunity to hike on a glacier.