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Jerry Pillarelli | profile | all galleries >> Travel and Nature >> US Travel >> Alaska National Parks Trip - Summer 2015 >> Wrangell-St Elias National Park – Alaska tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Wrangell-St Elias National Park – Alaska

Images of Wrangell-St Elias National Park – Southeastern Alaska, taken in July 2015.

Wrangell-St Elias National Park is the largest National Park in the park system and boasts 9 of the top 16 tallest peaks in the US.

As with most of Alaska this park has many glaciers which for some reason I always imagined were smooth; when I hiked on Root Glacier I learned the truth, they are not. We trekked out to the glacier and once there we donned crampons, a set of metal spikes that are attached to your boots to give you more traction on the snow and ice. We then took off across the ice and I learned very early on that glaciers are not only “not smooth” but indeed were not very good for my knees and ankles. In fact glaciers are covered with small mounds of hard ice which you have to navigate over and around…constantly! It was a difficult hike but one that was incredibly interesting and unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was a mix of streams, waterfalls, ponds and ice formations; a landscape like no other!

The history of this park also includes the discovery of one of the world’s richest copper ore bodies and in 1900 the establishment of the Kennecott mill camp. By 1938 the camp was closed because of dropping ore prices and the limited supply of copper but the history of the camp has been preserved by the park system.

One of the great things about road trips like this is meeting people along the way; people from all over the world. A good example of this is a group I met on the Whittier to Valdez ferry. They were also on their way to Wrangell-St. Elias and I ran into them again at the Worthington Glacier on the Richardson Highway; in Chitina and now we were all staying in McCarthy in the middle of the park. I was staying at Ma Johnson’s in the “upscale” part of town while they were in a bunkhouse on the “other” side of town! In fact, I accused them of following me since one or more of them seemed to always be around! The group was from all over; besides people from the US there was Jane and several other women from Great Britain, one from Australia and Anna from South Africa. It’s an added treat to talk with fellow travelers and even nicer that I’m still in touch with some of them today!
Mt. Blackburn (16,390 ft.) from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Mt. Blackburn (16,390 ft.) from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Mountain scene from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Mountain scene from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Kennicott Glacier (left) and Root Glacier (center) from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Kennicott Glacier (left) and Root Glacier (center) from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Close up of the Kennicott Glacier moraine from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Close up of the Kennicott Glacier moraine from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Along the McCarthy Road in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Along the McCarthy Road in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
The Kuskulana Bridge, originally a railroad bridge built in 1910, along the McCarthy Road in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
The Kuskulana Bridge, originally a railroad bridge built in 1910, along the McCarthy Road in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Trumpeter Swan and chicks along the McCarthy Road in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Trumpeter Swan and chicks along the McCarthy Road in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
The old Gilahina railroad trestle along the McCarthy Road in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
The old Gilahina railroad trestle along the McCarthy Road in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Main street in downtown McCarthy Alaska, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Main street in downtown McCarthy Alaska, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Old “Groceries & Meat, Hardware” store in McCarthy, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Old “Groceries & Meat, Hardware” store in McCarthy, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A rock crusher in front of the McCarthy-Kennecott Museum in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A rock crusher in front of the McCarthy-Kennecott Museum in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Railroad turntable in McCarthy, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Railroad turntable in McCarthy, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Ma Johnson’s Hotel in McCarthy, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Ma Johnson’s Hotel in McCarthy, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Root Glacier meets the Kennicott Glacier moraine in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Root Glacier meets the Kennicott Glacier moraine in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Hikers in the distance on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Hikers in the distance on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
The pitted surface of Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
The pitted surface of Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A small stream cut into Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A small stream cut into Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
An ice wall on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
An ice wall on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A stream cuts through the ice on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A stream cuts through the ice on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
The surface of Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
The surface of Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Water cascades down Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Water cascades down Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Ice swells on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Ice swells on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A blue pool in a crevasse on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A blue pool in a crevasse on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A blue pool on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A blue pool on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Our guide Hunter next to a blue pool on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Our guide Hunter next to a blue pool on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Ice and sand formation on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Ice and sand formation on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
An ice peak on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
An ice peak on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A waterfall on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A waterfall on Root Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Moraine, deposited by erosion, on Kennicott Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Moraine, deposited by erosion, on Kennicott Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Moraine on the Kennicott Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Moraine on the Kennicott Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Mountains overlooking the Kennicott Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Mountains overlooking the Kennicott Glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A rock glacier in the mountains of Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A rock glacier in the mountains of Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A Dwarf Fireweed flower in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
A Dwarf Fireweed flower in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Rugged mountain peak in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Rugged mountain peak in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Base of Mt. Blackburn from Kennecott in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Base of Mt. Blackburn from Kennecott in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Concentration Mill in Kennecott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Concentration Mill in Kennecott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
The Power Plant with Donoho Peak in the background in Kennecott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
The Power Plant with Donoho Peak in the background in Kennecott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Power Plant generators in Kennecott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Power Plant generators in Kennecott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Leaching Plant and Concentration Mill in Kennecott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Leaching Plant and Concentration Mill in Kennecott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Miners truck “Rigor-Mortis” in Kennecott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Miners truck “Rigor-Mortis” in Kennecott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
The Leaching Plant and Kennicott Glacier from Kennecott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
The Leaching Plant and Kennicott Glacier from Kennecott, Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Kennecott Mill Camp from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Kennecott Mill Camp from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Bonanza Mine (left) and miners quarters from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Bonanza Mine (left) and miners quarters from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Mountains from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Mountains from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Mt. Wrangell (14,163 ft.) an active glacier-covered shield volcano from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Mt. Wrangell (14,163 ft.) an active glacier-covered shield volcano from the air in Wrangell-St Elias National Park