As the Copper River exits the narrow channel at the Childs Glacier, it spreads out and meanders slowly around sand bars, and islands rife with narrow channels and backwater coves. Floating slowly in the sunshine leaning back against the inflated side tubes we studied the glacier capped mountains above the east shore. We lost track counting black bear that were spotted along the hillside there were so many. Ripe wild berries lured bears who gorged on the abundant sweet juicy fruits. This area is lush with waterfowl and wildlife, and is a birders dream.
Hot, dirty, sweaty and rough from five days on the river we made our last camp early in the day on one of the isolated islands in the middle of the river. There were numerous small clear blue pools on the island and each of us sought our own private place to bathe. It felt so good to be somewhat clean again. Our final evening was a congenial gathering summarizing our findings for a written report of the Copper River trip on Proposed Copper River Trail to be submitted to a long list of important entities including; the Alaska Department of Transportation, Cordova District Ranger, Eyak Corp., Tatitlek Corp., TRAAK Board, the governor at this time Tony Knowles, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Senators Stevens and Murkowski, city of Valdez, Copper River Watershed Project, Chitina Native Corp., River Management Society, Alaska State Parks History and Archeology, and others. It was a heady idea, we did the research and now it was up to the powers that be.
The morning of day six continued our good fortune with wonderful weather, we floated a short distance to our take out location at Flagg Point, and waited for the charter bus to haul all of us and gear back to the ferry terminal in Cordova to Valdez and the drive back to Glennallen. This was the year that we arranged in advance to have artwork shipped to the Reluctant Fisherman Inn at Cordova, where we stayed several additional days for an exhibit and further research in the Orca Inlet and surrounding region. But, that is the subject for another story…….later.
Gail Niebrugge, Alaska artist