Seward to Little Nelchina

Nelchina Travel Blog

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8.12.08 Seward to Little Nelchina


A full day of fun and driving today!  We pulled out of our delightful dispersed camping site on Exit Glacier Road and headed north on the Seward Highway.  A detour down the Portage 5-mile spur road to Chugach (“Chew-Gatch”) State Park and Kenai-Fjords National Forest led to several amazing glaciers. 


We hiked 1.6 miles round-trip to the Bryce Glacier on a nice gravel trail- no one was there at the glacier base and we had got to feel glacier ice as we carefully picked our way over the glacier moraine (rocks left by the receding glacier).  You never want to walk on the glacier itself, as it is riddled with hidden crevasses, and falling into one is a bummer of a way to go.


The NF Visitor’s Center was a veritable museum with excellent exhibits and a movie ($1 adults or free with NPS pass).  At the movie’s end, the curtains opened to windows showcasing the huge mountains and glaciers- a breathtaking view!


Up the road at the Girdwell gas station, we were delighted to meet Luke and Linda from our Lazy Daze yahoo group!  They live in both Alaska and New Mexico and are on their second Lazy Daze.  They also enjoy Kate and Terry Klein, as did Beth and Brad.  Then just 2 minutes up the Seward Highway, we spied another Lazy Daze and exchanged waves.  Very exciting!


Using the all-knowing Sallie (our GPS), we ordered ahead for our Moose Tooth Pizza.  We were able to stop to view wild sheep on Turnagain Point cliffs and still pick up the pizza while it was hot.  Charles has declared it the current winner in the “Best Pizza in the World” contest, but I’m still voting for Angela’s Heaven in Trapper’s Creek. 


Sallie also helped us find the Anchorage Wild Berry Store (which is really a touristy park) because we just HAD to see the 2-story chocolate waterfall!  And yes, it was impressive and yes, we bought more chocolate.  In fact, everyone could pick their own little candy bag and negotiate trades from there.


Jazy and Lia insisted on spending their own money ($1) to go pet the reindeer (??) at Wild Berry Park while Charles and I chowed down on pizza and chocolate.  We all think we made the smartest choice.


Now, while I’ll spend $15 on chocolate, I just love camping for free!  Using the Alaska State Lands Campground Map ($.50 from the Inter-Agency Info Center), Charles and I noticed that some of the campgrounds did not indicate a fee.  So we found one of them (very tricky with few signs, as if it really didn’t want to be found), and we are now in Little Nelchina Campground (I’d sing you my little Nelchina song, but I cannot in the blog). 


This campground is a little slice of Heaven - only one other camper and 8 beautiful sites.  It’s off the road a bit and we have a gorgeous site alongside a glacial river, which is bright turquoise blue and tumbling over rocks.  I can hear the river now as I type.  An entrance sign states this Dept. of Parks and Recreation campground is a no-fee place and to please clean up after yourself.  How cool is that?


Experienced RV’ers say the more you camp, the better you become at finding attractive and economical sites.  I can see where that is true- we just have to learn the tricks of the trade.  We saw many RV’s on the Glenn Highway overnighting at roadside parking areas.  One had a great big Class A rig and a state trooper parked there.  I would definitely feel safe there! 


I like some benefit in paying for a campsite:  security, beauty, convenience, or amenities (like laundry or electricity for charging everything at once).  Otherwise, paying money for essentially parking seems wasteful.  I’d rather spend it on chocolate!


We have noticed that opportunities like this campground require RV’s shorter than 30 feet- longer rigs would have trouble getting into and around this little campground.  Size of rig definitely matters when you’re adventuring.



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