How I Stumbled Upon The Largest National Park In The U.S.

Now let me start this off by stating that my navigational skills are pretty good. I can usually find my way around using only road signs or a map. My dad wanted me to guide our adventure using a Milepost book for Alaska. These books are useful in that they show you everything at each mile post of the road you are on. So as we are driving I had to literally follow the book word for word. Since we didn’t take the ferry to Valdez, we decided to drive instead.

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Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Sign: By Colleen Ducat

Taking a left turn at the town of Glennallen, AK it’s a two hour drive to Valdez. As we are driving down the highway, I’m following the book with good confidence. Each mile post was on point with the book– or so I thought. About 15 minutes later we come across the large sign that says “Wrangell-St. Elias National Park” . My dad and I voiced the same question in unison, “What is Wrangell-St. Elias?” I looked at the milepost book, and it showed nothing about the park or the visitor center– after we went in the visitor center, I found it three pages ahead in the book. We later learned that it is the largest national park in the United States spanning 13.2 million acres. That’s right, millions! How could I miss this huge chunk of land you ask? Well I’m still trying to figure that out. We decided to check out the park on our way back from Valdez.

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Worthington Glacier, Valdez, AK: By Colleen Ducat

So we kept driving south, and came up on the Worthington Glacier about twenty minutes north of Valdez, AK. This was the first glacier I have ever hiked on. It was a tough hike to just the base of the glacier, but so worth the view. The valley of rivers and mountains with a rainbow over head made it the perfect location. Stunning views and great memories were the reward. We made it to Valdez, and spent the night and part of the next day there just exploring the town. There is nice stores, a few museums that talk about the earthquake that destroyed the town in 1964, and the boardwalk to take a nice walk on. We didn’t really do much here as we were saving for a bigger adventure. So by the after noon, we started our way back up north to explore the national park. This part of the trip was the most physically demanding parts. So much hiking and walking was done in a short time.

Our next stop: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park!

 

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