The second stop on our journey was completely surprising. I had no idea at all what to expect. We headed to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, which happens to be the largest one in the country. We didn't really know what we were in for, so we stopped in to the visitor's center to ask around. The ranger was really helpful, even if he did laugh when we said we had several hours before we had to head another way. He then proceeded to explain that we'd be lucky to get into the park at all in that amount of time and we'd have to turn around as soon as we got anywhere worth going. Instead he deferred us to some hikes on the edge of the park boundary and we headed that way.
We ended up settling for driving through the park a bit instead of going hiking and I think my pregnant self actually appreciated that. Normally I really like going on hikes, but things are just a bit harder for me right about now.
We stopped at a little spot along the Copper River to have lunch. There is land privately owned by native alaskans that is within the park boundary and along the road, so there were public easements available for day use. I found the explanation of the easement boundaries a little confusing so we stopped just long enough to eat and be on our way. These little boats were everywhere. They don't look too stable so I hope the river doesn't get too turbulent.
Heading out of the park we stopped at a little rest area to stretch our legs (and get a much needed pregnant lady break) just to find this little waterfall. We didn't expect it, but it was a nice surprise.
This was just the start of the random stops along the side of the road. All the pics below were acquired that same way and I have no idea where they were at.
We never take only serious pictures. Heaven bless whoever invented the tripod. And the remote sensor for a camera. I honestly love their brilliance.
Yes, again, we stopped at some random pretty place along a road. Contrary to what I've posted so far, the hubs kisses me pretty much every single time we take timer pictures. It's a tradition of sorts. I don't post them all because, well, this is a family site and I'm sure no one wants to see 50 pictures of us lip-locked. This one makes me feel tall enough to be a real person and a little less pregnant, so it's clearly on my good side and definitely worth sharing.
Funny story, we drove this road (no, I don't know which one it is) in the dark the night before as we headed to our hotel for the night. We had NO IDEA anything interesting was there. Imagine our shock when we're driving along, look to the left, and see a huge glacier coming out of the valley. We were blown away.
The sun was really intense so I snapped a couple and we carried on...
Jim asked if I wanted him to stop so I could get better pictures of the glacier, I said no and then muttered under my breath that I'd probably regret that choice. Moments later we saw a turn off for a state recreation area and overlook and stopped to take a look. That's when I got this shot:
See what we would have missed? I mean really. There are no words to describe it. This is the Matanuska glacier and the scene blew my mind. It's beyond awesome and perhaps my favorite scenic picture of the trip.
I look lame here. Weird face, weird arm position, weird posture. Since it proves I was there and I'm not hiding from the camera for nine months I will deal with it. It was an incredible stop. Which confirmed it... I am so glad we went.