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Tuesday
found us heading south again.  We had a couple hours to burn 
before catching the Whittier Shuttle to Prince William Sound, 
so first we went to see the Portage Glacier.
Byron Glacier is nearby, but we weren't in the mood for a 
"healthy hike", LOL* and I had just walked on Matanuska 
Glacier the day before.

 

Portage Glacier

Portage Glacier

 

Portage Lake itself was a cold, windswept body of water, full
of floating chunks of ice.

Portage Lake

Portage Lake

We didn't go into the Begich-Boggs Visitor Center, but it's said 
to be very informative on the history of the Portage area and its
surrounding glaciers.
Just a mile south of where we eventually caught the Whittier
Shuttle (train), we stopped by Big Game Alaska.

 

Filly & Elk

WHOA !!  What's THIS ?

 

Big Game Alaska opened to the public in 1993, and cares for  
injured and orphaned wildlife, rehabilitating them and
returning to the wild those it can.  
Note, this was the ONLY place we saw real-live mooses in 
Alaska, LOL*  

C'mon, Let's PLAY !! 

 

Filly & Caribou
Grouchy Elk I sure ticked off this bad boy --
Dunno if I got too close to his hay or if he thought I was gonna give his girlfriend some tips on keeping him in line !
He charged with every intention of putting that wicked looking rack up my ..... nose.  Fancy footwork kept me just out of his reach, laughing !

 

From there, 
it was back to the train station and the Whittier Shuttle.  We 
were one of the last people over many years to take this very
interesting train ride, as the Alaska Railroad terminated this 
line with the opening of the 2.5 mile Whittier tunnel through  
the mountainside to vehicle traffic on June 7, 2000.

 

View from the train......

Snow slide near Portage
1st of 2 tunnels Portage-Whittier First tunnel from Portage to Whittier

 

 

In Whittier, we boarded our boat......a nice one, brand new last 
year.  This was the beginning of 5 1/2 hours of non-stop "oohs"
and "ahhhhs", maniacal swapping back & forth between three
cameras -- 35 mm, digital cam & video cam -- and a lunch on  

board that would put most hotels to shame.  Big cheers for 

Prince William Sound Cruises & Tours !!

 

We saw:  A rookery, the world's largest salmon hatchery, a bald
eagle in her nest,  a bear, numerous glaciers, otters, little 
dolphins (Dall's Porpoise) that looked like mini-killer whales, 
mountain goats, and simply spectacular scenery, (but no meese, grrrrrrrrr.)

 

I'm going to let the pictures show the highlights of our trip.....

 

Coxe, Columbia & Cascade Glaciers of Barry Arm

Coxe, Columbia & Cascade Glaciers of Barry Arm

Coxe, Columbia & Cascade Glaciers of Barry Arm

Coxe, Columbia & Cascade Glaciers of Barry Arm

 

Filly swimming in glacier melt BRRRR !!  This water is COLD !!

 

Salmon Corrals

 

Salmon Corrals

 

Esther Passage Esther Passage
Esther Passage

 

waterfall at rookery

Waterfall at rookery, note -- white specks are the birds

 

WHEW !!  What a day !!  Numbed by both the awesome sights
we'd seen, and the cold breeze off Prince William Sound, we got 
back on the train, drove back to our hotel & rested up for yet 
another day of non-stop adventures !

 

 Join us on our journey !

 

By Day By Location
 

Anchorage

Sunday Matanuska Glacier
Monday Portage Glacier
Tuesday Big Game Alaska
Wednesday Whittier
Thursday Prince William Sound
Friday Kenai Peninsula
Trapper Creek

 Moose

Alaska Facts
Denali Chugach Range
Approximate Driving Distances
 
COOL Alaska links
AWARDS

 

Portage Glacier
is what is known as a hanging glacier, meaning it no longer 
reaches its lake, having retreated some ways up Portage 
Valley.  You can't see the glacier and it's lake from the same
place, you need to drive on up around a bend to see Portage
Glacier.
Portage
itself used to be a town, before the 1964 earthquake.  The 
site then was a vehicle loading area that connected to the 
Alaska Marine Highway via the Whittier Shuttle.  With the 
closing of that route by the Alaska Railroad, its future is now
uncertain.
Portage Creek
is the main source for the silt and mud flats of the Turnagin
Arm, washing down silt from the glacier to the shores.  
Visitors are advised NOT to venture onto the flats because of
quicksand and bore tides.
Whittier
was a port created by the US Army during WWII, but is now
mainly a commercial fishing center, starting point for 
many tourists, and a main connection from the Alaska Marine
Highway to points inland, such as from Valdez to Anchorage.
Prince William Sound
is the northern Gulf of Alaska.  It is home to a multitude of 
glaciers, Dall Sheep, Mountain Goats, whales, otters, bald 
eagles, sea birds, porpoise, salmon, crab and halibut, to name
a FEW species of its native wildlife !

 

Photo Gallery

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