North to Alaska IX


Day 15 of the trip found us staying at the Glacier View Campground under overcast skies with plenty of mosquitoes for entertainment.

We rode our bicycles across the Kennicott River on a pedestrian bridge and five miles to the little town of Kennicott. For someone like me that doesn’t ride bicycles often, this was a tough five miles. The rutty, rocky dirt road was an old railroad bed and steadily gained every mile.

After having a cup of coffee at the Kennicott Glacier Lodge with Dan, I donned my daypack and began the hike to Bonanza Mine. After an easy one-half mile through the old Kennicott mining town, the Trail turns uphill and steeply climbs 4.5 miles, gaining 3,800 feet of elevation before reaching the Bonanza Mine buildings at 6,000 feet.

Once timberline was reached, the views became outstanding. I could see the ends of Root and Kennicott Glaciers below, the Chugach Mountains to the south and 16,000-foot Mount Blackburn to the northwest.

The remains of the old tram buildings along the steep slopes of the mountain were clearly visible. The tram originated at the Bonanza Mine and carried copper ore to a separator facility in the town of Kennicott.

Several hours into the hike thunder began pealing behind the peaks. Soon the sky turned black, light rain began and quickly turned to hail. Thankfully, I was close to the old Bonanza Mine buildings and found a dry space after climbing through snow drifts and old rotten timber. After 30 minutes the storm slackened and the sun began to peak through.

It still astounds me miners lived, slept and worked in this extremely steep and treacherous environment.

Chugach Mountains

Chugach Mountains

Bonanza Mine

Bonanza Mine buildings (Bunkhouse on the right)

Tram for carrying copper ore down to Kennicott to the separator facility

Tram for carrying copper ore down to Kennicott to the separator facility

View from lower portion of hike

View from lower portion of hike

Wildflowers along trail

Wildflowers along trail

Separator facility in Kennicott

Separator facility in Kennicott

View from Bonanza Mine

View from Bonanza Mine

Heading up the trail

Heading up the trail

Views from Bonanza Mine

Stormy view from Bonanza Mine

The sun finally beginning to break through the storm clouds

The sun finally beginning to break through the storm clouds

Storm look down the mountain from the Bonanza Mine buildings

Stormy look down the mountain from the Bonanza Mine buildings

 

 

Categories: Alaska Interior TripTags: , , ,

7 comments

  1. Outstanding! Each and everyone of them!

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  2. Amazing

    Ed Lyon
    Community Director, FCA Ventura County
    P.O. Box 6033, Ventura, CA 93006
    805-746-4725
    elyon@fca.org

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  3. Great photos. Take a look at my father’s 1927-1932 life at the Kennecott mines.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSUpl5_AA18

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