Our second morning was uneventful as we floated along the east shore of the Copper River, visually scouting for remnants of the Copper River and Northwest Railway on our trip from Chitina to Cordova, Alaska, the summer of 1998. Consulting topographic maps of the area we kept track of every landmark, and used them to guide our path on this gorgeous sunny day.
Our first stop was scheduled for the Tiekel River Railway tunnel just before the Tiekel River delta at about mile 28.5 from Chitina. We were growing accustomed to the gentle rocking motion of the raft, and savored the miles of uninterrupted scenery as we drifted deeper and deeper into the uninhabited wilderness. Since Haley Creek we had not seen another soul, nor any trace of man other than the few scattered remnants from the historic railway. I tried to imagine what it was like when trains traveled the rails in this wilderness, it was beyond comprehension. Hardly a word was spoken, all of us seemed transfixed by the beauty surrounding our tiny fleet of small rafts.
Gail Niebrugge, Alaska artist