Monday, July 6, 2009

Denali to Portage AK

After Denali we headed toward Anchorage. We stayed at Bird Creek State Park, it was on the Turnagain Arm. We did all our touring of Anchorage from there. It is a very busy city. We visited the ULU factory, Earthquake Park and Hood Lake to watch all the sea planes take off. Parking was difficult at the visitor center, no parking lot at the center.

Cute story, On one of our trips on the turnagain arm we saw a crowd of people parked and looking up on the mountain side, when you see a crowd ,you know something is there. High up on a cliff looking down at the crowd that was looking up was a Dall sheep, just as proud as can be, saying to himself what are all those people looking at me for. We left that campground early because of bear activity. We also saw a Moose and her calf on that same trip.

We are now in Portage AK. Staying at the Chugach National Forest. What a beautiful site. We look out our window and see snow capped mountains and beautiful blue ice glaciers. We are at the Williwaw Campground.

We walked the Trail of the Blue Ice and walked on a glacier. Some people had snow boards. Glacier ice is formed from countless snowfalls, it squeezes out the air-leaving dense compact ice. Sunlight, or white light is made up of all the colors of the spectrum- with each color having a different amt. of energy. In ice cubes air bubbles scatter the light-creating white. When sunlight strikes glacier ice the lower energy colors are absorbed by the ice and only the blue which has the most energy is reflected back to the eye. The Byron glacier has danger of an avalanche from winter thru spring. This is the one we hiked to and walked on. It was 0.8 miles one way and a nice trail.

We visited Hotel Alyeska and took the Aerial Tramway. The tram stops at the 2,300’ level of Mt. Alyeska ( the summit is 3,939)There were views of surrounding glaciers, Turnagain Arm and the Chugah Mts. There were hand gliders all over. You could go for a ride if you wanted to. Can’t imagine that place in the winter.

The camera is really clicking, all you hear while driving is the click and look how beautiful, look at that, WOW! what a picture. Sorry to say Deb but you’ll have to do a lot of picture taking to catch up to Linda. Maybe you did at the wedding. The flowers are just amazing, they have such brilliant colors and so big. Guess they like 20 hrs of daylight. We are still not accustom to all the daylight.

Next adventure we headed to Whittier. We had to go thru the Antom Anderson Memorial Tunnel. It is 2.6 miles long tunnel with one lane, cars and trains take turn traveling thru it. It is open daily from 5:30 to 11:15PM, . It allows alternating directional use for vehicle traffic every 30 min., except for scheduled trains and maintenance. It is the longest tunnel in North America.

Whittier is at the head of Passage Canal on the Prince William Sound. Pop. about 117 in the winter and 600 in the summer. It is a very busy harbor. Most of the residents live in Condos. You can rent kayaks, take glacier tours (which we did), and fishing charters. Our glacier tour was fabulous. We saw many glaciers, sea otters and seals. We had a great lite lunch of Alaska King Crab cakes, rice with veg. a roll and great warm choc. Chip cookies. We could smell them as they were baking.

We met a young(20’s) youth pastor from Kansas on the boat. He had a group here for 2 weeks doing Habitat work at a church in Anchorage. He asked where we were from, if we were on a cruise and we told him about our adventure. He was so interested, he told the group about us , they all had many questions about our life style. They all got off the boat before us and when he saw us leaving, he ran from the van to say good-bye and wished us a safe journey and could he please have his picture taken with us and our truck showing our PA. License. He gave us a big hug and ran to the van. Off they all went shouting good-bye and have a safe trip. What a great group of kids..

We hope every one had a Happy 4th and are enjoying their summer. We spent our 4th visiting the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. It is 140 acre area. You could walk or drive, guess what we did? We did get out of the car a lot.There were bear and cubs, caribou, moose,musk ox, bison, elk plus many other animals. The bear put on a cute show,knowing treats would follow their little tricks. In 2005 the 1st birth of a wood bison in Alaska in more than 100 yrs. took place here. The Center is dedicated to the rehabilitation of orphaned and injured animals. The animals will spend the rest of their life here. The Center is about 45 miles from Anchorage.

After the Wildlife Center we headed to Girdwood-pop.1,935. It was the 34th Girdwood Forest Festival. It was held in a forest. It lasted all weekend, there were crafts, food and entertainment (great belly dancers). There are a lot of artists in the little town. We were told to go to a certain bakery, they had fabulous soups and the flowers were unbelievable The plants sure love all the sunshine. Today Sunday was a grocery day so went about 50 miles to Anchorage for them. Lot’s of traffic on the road. The rest of the day is going to be a relaxing day, just enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. Sorry if this a little lengthy , we just want to share it with you all.

Cyril and Dawn left PA on Friday for a cruise up the inside passage of AK. We will be meeting them in Seward. They will be spending about a week with us. We will take them to Anchorage to get a plane home. We have 2 fishing trips planned. We are looking forward to seeing them.

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