Day three of our 1998 float trip on the Copper River, Alaska, exploring the possibility of creating a Rails to Trails system using the abandoned rail bed of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway from Chitina to Cordova. We found the area around the Heney Glacier Lake was rife with relics and remains of the old railway. Limited in discovery only by our ability to endure very thick, dense vegetation, and time. Below are ruins we literally stumbled onto.
Our destination for camp that night was below the Wernicke River on the west shore of the Copper River across from the Allen Glacier about 63.5 miles from our starting point in Chitina. It required paddling through a difficult and unaesthetic section of the river at the confluence of the Bremner and Copper Rivers, a vast sand and mud flats with braided channels and a very bad spot in the wind. The best channel followed the west bank, it was time to cease exploring and propel forward. Fortunately the gusts this day were moderate, I’ve been through this area in strong blasts of wind blown sand when conditions made it almost impossible to move downriver. We still worked hard and kept close watch knowing that gales can begin at any time without notice.
Gail Niebrugge, Alaska artist