When you drive the McCarthy Road you are forced to park you car and walk the one mile into the town of McCarthy. McCarthy has a restaurant, a bar, a general store and a couple guiding companies that will take you for hikes up on the glacier and rent you mountain bikes for the day. I unsuccessfully attempted to bargain down the price of a day rental for the mountain bikes. The van was $5 each way/ per person. The bike was $20 per person, I told them that I would pay $10, or how much it would cost me to get a ride on the van. They did not go for it, so we instead took the van shuttle the five miles up to the town of Kennicott.
As a quick note, the difference in the spelling between Kennicott and Kennecott, was a simple mistake by the mine owner, it was never changed and continues to cause different spellings today.
As soon as we got on the shuttle the guy sitting in the front seat turned around and said ‘Are you guys from LA?’. Confused we said ‘No, why?’ He said, ‘you have on Runyon Canyon hats, and they are LA based.’ Ah! We explained our trip and let him know that Runyon Canyon had sponsored us with gear for the trip. Jason worked for The North Face at the Beverly Hills store and was coming to Alaska to help with the opening of their Anchorage store. Beyond taking some time to do some exploring he helped me expedite the process on getting my North Face tent repaired. I had mailed it in several weeks earlier and he told me to call them. Several weeks later they had replaced my tent and it arrived in the mail all nice and new.
The town of Kennicott has a post office and a National Park visitor’s center. The visitor’s center was technically closed for the season, but I saw a lady inside and persuaded her to open the door to let me sign the National Park register and to give me a Junior Ranger booklet. I felt bad because about four people followed me inside and kept it open longer than the lady would have liked.
Kennicott, is an abandoned copper mining town. Trevor, Jason and I walked around checking things out. The mining operation is insane; the machinery in some of the buildings is massive. When you consider that the operation shut down in 1938 it has been sitting there for nearly 70 years without being used, it must have been top of the line back in the day. One of the other incredible parts of the town is the way that the main building was constructed. It was built into the mountain, so it goes up about a dozen stories and just kind of grows out of the mountain. Its red paint is fading and flaking, but it is nonetheless impressive. We walked up and around to the top of the buildings and explored all that we could. We opted not to go for the tour, due to how long it took and the fact that it cost money. I couldn’t help but wish that one of the buildings be renovated as a sweet restaurant and brewery. Perhaps I can open it after this trip is over.