Many of our visitors in the summer ask what we do in winter. Well, I just finished putting together (with a lot of help) a new and better (we hope) website www.wrangellmountainair.com. My goal in updating our website is to publish as much information about the area and what we offer so that anyone planning a trip to Alaska can make informed decisions about visiting Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and the McCarthy-Kennicott area. My hope is that visitor will get off the beaten path to see this special corner of Alaska. It is a bit off the well traveled tourist route but we think that is a big part of the attraction. After all, it’s where Alaskans go to enjoy their state.
McCarthy and Kennicott has changed a lot since I first arrive 34 years ago. But I have to say that it still retains much of the frontier flavor that I found that warm summer day in 1976 when I pulled up at the end of the road and looked around at the now familiar and still amazing view of Stairway Ice fall, Mount Blackburn and the Kennicott Glacier. Wow! The view hasn’t changed at all!
Of course we all like to see photos and in the course of updating our website I have looked at literally hundreds of photographs(and I’m not done yet) taken by myself and others that really capture the magnificence of the Park. So I thought I might throw a couple of photos in here that capture some of the beauty of the park and what we do during the summer months. Of course the best way to see Wrangell-St. Elias is to fly so sign up for a flight-seeing tour or take a flight into the back country. You can also fly in to McCarthy-Kennnicott from Chitina for a day trip or spend a few days taking advantage of the many activities offered by local vendors like glacier hiking, ice climbing, river rafting or just a Kennicott History Tour. After a tough day on the ice or the river you can take in the local flavor at the bar in McCarthy. Be sure to heed the sign that says “please check guns at the bar”…..It is after all bear country.
We should soon have a narrated slide show available in three sections running about 10 minutes each; the first part is an overview of the park and what we do. The second is about some of our backpacking and base camping destination in Wrangell-St. Elias and the last section talks about rafting and kayaking the rivers. The show was put together by our illustrious slide show narrator and pilot extraordinaire Bill McKinney. His forte in the summer months is narrating a very informative flight-seeing tour. He is the pilot that we all strive to be when it come to conducting a tour. Check his bio on our website.
Winter is the time for all of us to take a break and reflect on a summer of flying in the most magnificent mountain ranges in North America. It was a bit of a tough year for all of the pilots. We had a lightening strike start a wild land fire 14 miles south of McCarthy in July. All of July was very smokey and sometimes made it a challenge for us to get folks where they needed to go.I am very proud of the fact that we got everyone where they needed to go in a safe and professional manner. It is a reflection on the experience and judgement of the pilots that fly for us. They are highly skilled, very professional and the best part……they are all over 50 years old!
Speaking of the pilot crew…Let’s see, Bill is at home in Southern Washington and when he wasn’t working on our slide show he was off sailing in Mexico with his family. Looks like a new passion. Martin is teaching aviation at a college in Colorado and living with his family off the grid at 9000′+. Don and his wife are on a raft trip on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Natalie and I are answering the phone and e-mails, doing a little skiing and making sure that all the airplanes are ready to go for the 2010 season.
Here is a link to a video taken by some of our backcountry customers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjwGfDtPCCU.