Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thompson Pass and the Glenn Highway

After driving the Denali and Richardson Highways from Denali to Glennallen we stayed the night in Glennallen and the next day headed further south on the Richardson Highway through Thompson Pass to Valdez.  The day was the worst of the whole trip, weather-wise, with a lot of rain and low clouds.  We did not see much of Thompson Pass as a result but did make several stops at Worthington Glacier, at Bridal Veil and Horsetail Falls and at an old railroad tunnel.

Worthington Glacier

unidentified wildflower

Tsina River

Bridal Veil Falls

Horsetail Falls

railroad tunnel

Thompson Pass glaciers


Bog Star

On our way back to Glennallen we spotted some orchids along the road and stopped for a lengthy photographic session.  We found three orchids, the Sparrow's-egg Lady's Slipper, Cypripedium passerinum, nearly finished blooming, the Green Bog Orchis, Platanthera huronensis, and the Northern Green Bog Orchis, Platanthera aquilonis, the latter species much shorter than the former and with a yellowish lip.  These were three of six species we found on the trip.

Green Bog Orchis

Sparrow's-egg Lady's Slipper

Northern Green Bog Orchis

Wrangell Mountains

We did not even stop in Valdez both on account of the weather and our disinterest and then drove back through the pass to Glennallen where we stayed another night before heading east on the Glenn Highway to Palmer.  The Glenn Highway is another beautiful drive, but again we had rather poor weather with low hanging clouds and only spots of sunshine.  Matanuska Glacier is the high point of that drive, but it was heavily overcast when we went through that area.

Glenn Highway

Matanuska Glacier

Glenn Highway

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