While doing some research for work earlier this week, I came along this line in Lonely Planet Alaska: “Cordova, a fishing village that hasn’t sold its soul to tourism”. And that’s how it is indeed, at least, when I was there, 3.5 years ago already. While travelling, either for work or pleasure, there are things you see and think “ah, this is nice” and things that you think that are “WOW”. Cordova, Alaska, is one of those WOW places. Unspoiled and simply beautiful, also because there is almost no tourism there. The only way to get there is by boat or by plane. We took the boat. Which was a lot of fun, because apparently they don’t have a lot of women traveling there (I was there with my colleague Karin) and we were invited to the bridge to come and say hello to the captain and also got invited to some kind of party with a guy who had his boat in the harbor… just like that without knowing them. As they say about the men in Alaska: “the odds are good but the good are odd”.
When waking up the morning after our arrival, it was misy and dark and I was kind of dissapointed because I could imagine this place being even more beautiful with blue skies and clear views. We got lucky though, by the end of the day the mist had cleared and the snowcapped mountains appeared. I could have stayed on the beach all day, just to see the sea otters play away and watch the impressive scenery. The icing on the cake was the sunset however, one that took my breath away…
The best part of the stay in Cordova was the visit to the Copper River Delta, one of the biggest river delta’s in North America. A 54 mile gravelroad took us away from town, into the wilderness where we saw beartracks, moose, a ton of birds and finally, Child’s Glacier. I’ve seldom seen such an impressive mass of ice. Not only because it kept on calving ice but also because it seemed to be so far away from everything, at least, for Dutch standards (here you can’t even walk for 5 minutes without seeing someone else). See for yourself, this glacier is such a beauty. But very dangerous too, in the nineties a huge chunk of ice broke off which caused a massive tidal wave and seriously injured two women who were on the beach in front of the glacier. As I stood there I imagined this happening… and felt the urge to run back to safer grounds.
on the beach in front of Child’s Glacier:
a bit of ice calving:
At the end of the road, there’s the Miles Glacier Bridge (named after Miles Glacier), better known as the Million Dollar Bridge. The bridge got its nickname because the costs for building it were approximately 1.4 million USD, but it earned its investment back easily as about 200 million USD worth of copper was transported to the sea faster because of this bridge:
A couple of years ago the Copper River Road got washed away by a flood and the Child’s Glacier is not that easy to access anymore, only from the water. When reading the last version of Lonely Planet Alaska, which was printed before the flood, I realised I am very lucky to have seen this pristine place. Maybe the road will be connected again and the herds of tourists will come. Maybe they will leave it like this and the difficult access will keep people away. We’ll see. At least I can say I’ve been there and it will always be one of my favorite places in the world.
For now I’ll leave you with some pictures of the cutest animals around, seaotters! Happy Easter everyone!