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We loved Valdez.  And we hated Valdez. The landscape is from fairytales: waterfalls in all directions, and glaciers, gushing rivers, green mountain-sides and a brilliant aquamarine harbor with bright colored fishing boats and kayaks.

Valdez has wildlife, hiking, boating and fishing, history, culture, good beer and coffee.  But, it also has bugs. Oh the bugs. Bugs you can't see.  That are still crawling all over you when you finally fall into your sleeping bag, in the light, at 12:30 AM after a manic, wonderful day.

Black clouds rolling in over Valdez Harbor

Valdez Harbor on a clear morning.

And, paradise is expensive. Of all the places we stayed, we felt the $$$ slipping away here the most. We stayed three nights, our first in a $280/night hotel/motel (where the bus tour people stay) because we were desperate for a shower and darkness.  Kris took a call at 6AM Alaska Time from the mighty, tiny trailer in the parking lot so as not to wake us from our dark slumber.

Welcome to Valdez!

I guess the bugs contributed to the cost of Valdez, as well. We could hardly eat at our campsite (back at the KOA) without persistent and infuriating black flies and mosquitoes. This was a love-hate ordeal because eating poutine and drinking craft brews on the harbor at a picnic table (where the bugs were oddly absent) was exactly what we wanted to do every night.

Roadside Potatohead

Kris worked at Latte Dah for three days while we rode bikes to Valdez Glacier Lake, learned about the gold rush, 9.2 magnitude earthquakes and oil spills at the history museum, history warehouse and historic walking tour.  Over the course of maybe forty five minutes (after touring the remains of the pre-1964 town of Valdez) we watched water completely consume the old dock.

Riding to Valdez Glacier Lake (SO MANY black flies)
Before Tide
After Tide
the pinks come home
Catching the Big One

And then we watched the pinks swarming the Solomon Gulch Hatchery, trying to come home, while those dastardly sea lions, sea otters, seals, gulls and terns feasted on them. Ah, nature. Humans included.  We munched french fries and fried fish while watching fishermen of the human kind bring back massive halibut from day long fishing trips in the Bay.

We loved Valdez. And, we hated Valdez.