McCarthy Trip Logistics

December 7th, 2016 by Carl D

Trip participants should arrive in Anchorage no later than the evening before our schedule trip departure date.

As an example, if your trip is schedule Aug 1 – Aug 10, the Trip would require all participants arrive in Anchorage sometime on July 31. I highly recommend you try to arrive even a day earlier is at all possible, to allow for flight delays resulting from weather. Expeditions Alaska does not provide, but can recommend, accommodation in Anchorage.

Day 1 (Aug 1)

Your guide will pick you up, from your accommodations in Anchorage first thing in the morning. The exact time will depend on how many people are on the trip, where everyone is staying, etc. Typically it will be somewhere around 8am, Alaska time (4 hours behind EST).

We’ll spend the day traveling to McCarthy, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. The drive typically takes about 8 hours, depending on stops, etc. We pass along the northern edge of the spectacular Chugach Mountains, following the Matanuska Valley, the open taiga forest of the Glenallen area. For lunch, we try to stop at the Golden Spruce Cabins, near Kenny Lake. The remaining leg of the drive is slow on the McCarthy Road, a 60 mile gravel road along what used to be the Rail Line in to McCarthy from Chitina. We should get some great views of the Copper and the Chitina River at the start of this leg. if the weather is favorable, we will also get great views of Mount Blackburn, Mount Wrangell, Mount Drum and Mount Sanford as pass by.

The final leg of the trip is through the boreal spruce forest of the Wrangell – St. Elias National Park’s lower elevations, before arriving at McCarthy. We don’t actually arrive at McCarthy, rather we arrive close to McCarthy. The road for public traffic ends at the footbridge over the Kennecott River, about 1/2 mile from McCarthy. We’ll either camp by the river, or we can stay in the rustic Kennicott River Cabins about 100 yards back up the road. For dinner we have several options in McCarthy, such as the Golden Saloon, or the Glacier Creek Campground BBQ.

Day 2 (Aug 2)

The following morning we’ll need an early start. Pack up gear, shuttle it over the footbridge and into McCarthy, eat breakfast Ma Johnson lodge, and then walk over the road to Wrangell Mountain Air. We fly from McCarthy into our landing strip and start the backcountry section of the trip.

…. backpacking …..

Final day of hiking (Aug 9)

We fly back to McCarthy, usually in the morning (trip dependent).

Back in McCarthy, hit the showers, get changed, and enjoy the afternoon visiting Kennicott or relaxing in McCarthy. Typically we have dinner in McCarthy , before sacking out in the cabin for the night.

Final Day (Aug 10)

We’ll get up early, have breakfast in McCarthy, then hit the road for the drive back to Anchorage. Typically we get back to Anchorage around 6 pm. I’ll drop you and you/r party off at your Anchorage accommodation. I highly suggest you don’t plan on flying out of Anchorage that evening, but wait until the following day – we CAN experience weather-delays in the backcountry that could easily make it difficult to get back to Anchorage in time for a flight on this day. If you must book your return flight on this day, please (a) speak with me about it well in advance, and (b) schedule a red eye, such as 1:00am the following morning (Aug 9, 1:00am, for our example here).

Final day + 1 (Aug 11)

You depart Anchorage.

In Anchorage (Anch)

You need to arrive in Anchorage (at the latest) the day before your trip departure date is scheduled for. Organize your accommodation in Anchorage this night. We’ll pick you up at your doorstep in the morning.

You should arrange your departure from Anchorage no earlier than the day following the date of our scheduled trip Final Day. Again, schedule your accommodation in Anchorage for this night. Expeditions Alaska will provide you with a trip Departure Packet that lists a variety of options in Anchorage.

Stuff to do in Anchorage

In McCarthy (MXY)

We travel from Anchorage to McCarthy, overnight in MXY and then fly in to the backcountry. Complete our hike, then we fly back to McCarthy, shower and eat, and then enjoy the afternoon relaxing in the slow-paced rustic town of McCarthy, or venture up to Kennicott and look at the historic copper mine Mill buildings and leftovers of this ghost town. We spend the night in McCarthy, and travel back to Anchorage on the final day.

All about McCarthy

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