August 17 - 19, 2013...Seward, Anchorage & Whittier, Alaska

The ride into Seward was stunning.  The jagged mountain slopes cloaked in lush shaggy greenery with brilliant white snow caps and blue glacier valleys, is "the icing on the cake" so to speak.  Luckily, this picturesque landscape unfolds in front of you as you weave through the mountains, or I would have been off the road!  I am so glad that we decided to venture out into this arm of the Kenai Mountains and visit one of Alaska's oldest coastal communities before heading back and onto Anchorage.  

That night we met up with a cousin of Kev's that had been working in Anchorage, shared stories and enjoyed a nice dinner.  

Today we left the bikes covered and parked in Anchorage.  Walked 2 miles to the railway, rode the Alaskan Railway 60 miles south to Whittier in time to board the Klondike Express, a fast catamaran that will cruise us through the towering glaciers and rugged wilderness of Prince William Sound.   I really appreciated the rail trip from Anchorage. This is actually the 3rd time for us on this stretch of roadway in the last 2 days...it is great to relax and just ride along and taking pictures this way is so simple, just point and shoot.    The train passed though a section of dead forest due to the 1964 earthquake that measured 9.2 on the Richter scale. The area dropped over 9 ft, which in turn altered the tide line. The trees died from the new tide line exposing the trees to salt water.  We also passed through the Whittier Tunnel a one lane combination highway railway tunnel that allows vehicles and trains, in turn to travel through.  This is the only one-way reversible traffic tunnel shared with a train in the world.

Prince William Sound, originally named Sandwich Sound by Captain Cook in 1778 is 2,100 sq miles of islands and fjords that has been carved by 15 million years of glacier activity.  This area is surrounded by Chugach National Forest, North Americas most northern rainforest. 

Although a drizzly and wet day, it was phenomenal viewing.  Bald eagles perched high in the tall moss covered spruce trees, rafts of otters floating in the frigid waters, and harbor seals taking a snooze on floating chunks of ice. The glaciers also put on a show for us today.  Not only were they cracking and creaking, but, a huge spire of glacier ice broke away and belly flopped into the icy waters below.  It thundered in the air around us and created a wake large enough that we had to turn into it!   We enjoyed a Glacier Margarita on the return ride made with ice that was over 200 years old.  We also stopped at a rock face that was home to over 10,000 birds. This Alaska place is pretty darn amazing!

   

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View across harbor at Seward. 

View across harbor at Seward. 

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Dinner with Baker cousin in Anchorage  

Dinner with Baker cousin in Anchorage  

Anchorage sunset    

Anchorage sunset

 

  Train to Seward

 Train to Seward

Dead trees due to 1964 earthquake registering 9.2

Dead trees due to 1964 earthquake registering 9.2

Klondike Express tour of Prince William Sound    

Klondike Express tour of Prince William Sound  

Bald eagle checking out the Klondike

Bald eagle checking out the Klondike

Amazing glaciers

Amazing glaciers

Otter mum's with their pups.  Awwee one fell off!

Otter mum's with their pups.  Awwee one fell off!

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Just amazing up close!

Just amazing up close!

Even got a show!  The cracking of the glacier   echoed across the sound.  The wave the caused by the calving was significant enough that the vessel had to turn into it!

Even got a show!  The cracking of the glacier echoed across the sound.  The wave the caused by the calving was significant enough that the vessel had to turn into it!

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An impressive gull   rockery 

An impressive gull rockery 

Heading back to Ankorage 

Heading back to Ankorage 

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In Alaska you can get your pilots license at age 14, and it is the preferred mode of transportation.  As the train rocked by I captured a quick shot of a housing community that had a personal landing strip attached to it.  

In Alaska you can get your pilots license at age 14, and it is the preferred mode of transportation.  As the train rocked by I captured a quick shot of a housing community that had a personal landing strip attached to it.  

The train ran seaside as the sun was setting.  Mesmerized by the oyster colored waters I was privileged to see several whales breech these chilly waters.

The train ran seaside as the sun was setting.  Mesmerized by the oyster colored waters I was privileged to see several whales breech these chilly waters.