16 October 2010

Klondike Gold Rush & the All-American Route, Pt 3

The All American Route: Copper Center: The End of the Line--and the start of a new era

Map showing Klutina River route from Klutina Lake to Copper Center, confluence of the Copper & Klutina Rivers.  (Click).

As tough as ascending the Valdez Glacier only to encounter the forbidding Chugach summit was, and then continuing over yet another hazardous glacier to reach Klutina Lake, it is said that the Klutina River was even more dangerous to the unwary travelers who evidently had no idea what they were doing when they entered that river from where Klutina Lake empties.

Probably more lives were lost along this roughly 25 mile stretch of river than anywhere else. Almost every boat built overturned or was busted up on the many rocks in that incredibly fast moving white-water current. Because this is a glacier stream, the river is barely above freezing. Persons who fall in the river have only minutes to get out, if that, before the river takes them. 

Many, upon word of how treacherous this river really was, turned back toward Valdez. But a few brave souls actually took the plunge--literally.  Of the 3,500 who attempted this incredibly arduous journey from Valdez on their quest of the All-American Route, only about a tenth of that number actually made it to the confluence of the Klutina and Copper Rivers--Copper Center

The Landing at Copper Center:  This shot was taken on what is now my riverfront property  on the Klutina River. (Click). 

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