August 13, 2007 – Whittier

We woke today to the sound of the falls and a bright blue sunny day!! Every day still continues to leave me awestruck.

We spent today in Whittier. It is a few miles away and only accessible by a tunnel or by boat. The tunnel is one way and shared with the train. It is 2.5 miles long through the mountain. So on the half hour, the traffic goes to Whittier; on the hour, the traffic goes to Portage; and everything stops when there is a train. It was really interesting to go thru (and yes, I drove the Tracker!!)

Whittier is a very small town and was actually started as a military post/harbor. The military gave it to Alaska after WWII, who then gave it to the railroad. There are only 300 people who live here year round but it is a major stop for cruise lines and the ferry. It is also a major harbor for goods to various parts of Alaska and the lower 48.

Whittier was also affected by the earthquake and they suffered 3 tsunamis. They did not have the oil (from the spill) come to the harbor but many of the people here helped in the clean up.

We walked around the little shops. The owner of one of the shops also owns reindeer and walks them to work with her. We did not get a chance to see her walk them thru town but we have a picture of one of them (isn’t she cute!):

We took a boat tour to see more of the glaciers. Here is a picture of Whittier as we left port. To give you perspective, the arrow is pointing at a 15 story building – isn’t that something.

Some pictures along the way:

More incredible waterfalls:

The Icefield:

One of the glaciers (this one is 500’ tall – you may be able to notice the boat in front of the glacier):

And another:


We did see many birds and their nesting sites, a harbor seal, a few bald eagles and sea otters. AND I did get pictures:

They are just the best…

Back at camp, another wonderful campfire listening to the sound of the waterfall (same as last night) – isn’t life grand…

Some thoughts:

One of the things we noticed was that the fireweed blooms are near the top. We were told that once the fireweed blooms are done, the summer is done and snow will start falling shortly. There is definitely fall in the air. The leaves have not changed yet but some are falling from the trees. In a few days, we will be leaving the Kenai Peninsula and starting to head east. It feels like I am starting to say goodbye to Alaska. I truly thank God that I have had this opportunity to do this incredible journey. Would I come back? Yes, in a heartbeat! This land is so beautiful and so rugged and wild at the same time. It is truly our country’s last frontier.

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