28 July What is that?
We drove further east on the Edgerton Highway to Chitina and then toward McCarthy. At the end of that road (it really is the end of the road) is a restored copper mine. However, from Chitina to McCarthy (60 miles) the road is gravel and dirt. That is no problem for the Ford 4X4, but the smoke from a fire south of McCarthy definitely was a problem. The best I can relate it to is driving in heavy fog. With other traffic on the road, kicking up dust, and with no guard rails for lateral guidance, I was too busy driving to view any of the scenery that was obscured by the smoke. We turned off onto a side road, drove a couple of miles on a dirt lane and ate lunch beside a large plywood sign that warned of “orcs, goblins and locals”. Lunch consumed, and with visions of Deliverance in my mind, we retraced our path to the gravel road and returned to the campground.
On the way back, we stopped at the Copper River to view some fish wheels in action. Well, not exactly. The wheels were turning, but the salmon are not yet up this far in the river. I stopped to talk to one of the men tending a wheel/trap and he said 40-50 thousand salmon are expected to swim past here in the next twenty-four hours. Interesting as it was, we decided we wouldn't wait for the fish to arrive. My initial impression about the fish wheel was it's likeness to a hoop net – at least in purpose and function, although the hoop net is far less complicated. I asked about that and the reason of the fish wheel instead of hoop net is ridiculously simple. Hoop nets are not legal.
OK. The picture is a field of yak. I don't have any details about them.