Valdez to Sourdough Campground – BLM

We drove around to the other side of the bay at Valdez and saw this eagle perched by the road. I’m sure he works for the tourism bureau because he posed nicely while we took his picture. It was overcast but not raining in the morning. So we set out towards Fairbanks. We heard about the 5+ earthquake near Anchorage this morning but we were already driving on the frost heaves so we didn’t notice. The clouds were high enough that we were actually able to see more of the Wrangell-St Elias range today. Lots of fishermen were out on the Gulkana River. We thought about camping there for the night. After looking at the river and wondering how anyone ever lands a salmon out of that raging river, we decided to keep going. We looked at Sailor’s Pit, which is a BLM easement on some private (Ahtna Inc.) property. The Milepost says it is $20 for camping but the sign at the campground says $40. There were people camped there and it was right on the Gulkana River but it didn’t look worth it to us. We didn’t even see any services (restrooms, water). We ended up at Sourdough Campground. It’s a BLM campground about 15 miles north of the Tok cutoff on Hwy 4 (Richardson Hwy). It is a nice, well cared for, campground and only $8! We were surrounded by black spruce trees. They are the only spruce that will grow in the mushy, wet tundra. Their growth is stunted and the tops are curvy due to the winter weather mashing them down. I’ve heard the areas of black spruce called a “drunken forest” because they have such shallow roots that they easily tip.

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