Thursday, August 8, 2019

Portage and Whittier

Portage Glacier
I wish I had more time to explore Portage and Whittier, but it was late in the day by the time I arrived at Portage. I caught site of the glacier in the distance and was disappointed to miss my opportunity to both hike to the glacier and bike in Girdwood by staying an extra day in Seward, but I'll just have to visit again one day. I underestimated the hugeness of Alaska and really needed another week to fit in everything I'd hoped to do.

After securing my site at Black Bear, I drove towards Whittier and through the tunnel — which is a crazy experience in itself. The tunnel is timed for one way traffic and costs $14 to travel the northbound direction to Whittier. I paid for the 7:00 pm entrance and waited for the gates to open allowing northbound traffic. In addition to car traffic, the narrow tunnel serves the Alaska Railroad, and driving on the train tracks was pretty sketchy. Sketch-y.

Whittier was quite chilly, enveloped in fog, and reminded me of Seward. I walked around the docks, watched some of the boats returning to shore, and found a small place to have dinner. I texted home, (finally having spotty 1X cell service), and reflected on the adventures of the day — leaving Seward early in the morning, hiking Exit Glacier, driving the Seward Highway with scenic stops along the way, nearly running out of gas... and finding a campsite at Black Bear campground after seeing a real black bear earlier in the day... it was a pretty eventful day.

The Alaska Railroad
Train gets priority passage through the Whittier Tunnel
Waterfall in Whittier

Parked outside the Wild Catch Cafe