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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 21: Alaska...Seward to Whittier, Including Exit Glacier

We drove up to the Exit Glacier visitor center, just outside of Seward, on the morning of August 28, 2007, Day 21 of our trip, then walked the one-and-a-half-mile round-trip hike up to the glacier.

100_0430-Exit Glacier at Seward, AK
At Exit Glacier

100_0432-Exit Glacier at Seward, AK
This picture gives a better idea of the size of Exit Glacier.

Afterward, we went into Seward for lunch at a restaurant that the Renown Cruise shuttle bus driver had recommended the day before: Yoly's Bistro. After lunch, we headed for Whittier.

100_0435-Mtns from Seward Hwy (northbound at 71 mile marker)
Mountains seen from the Seward Highway, as we drove from Seward to Whittier

100_0437-Along Access Rd to Portage Glacier & Whittier
Along the access road to Portage Glacier and Whittier

An interesting feature on the way to Whittier was the Anton Anderson Tunnel. The tunnel, two and a half miles long, was originally built in 1943, for rail traffic to get to the relatively isolated community of Whittier, a port for the Alaska Marine Highway.

In the mid-1960's, the Alaska Railroad began offering a shuttle service for automobiles. As traffic to Whittier increased, though, the shuttle became insufficient. As a result, the tunnel was opened to vehicle traffic in 2000.

Eastbound traffic enjoys the right of way in this single-lane tunnel for 15 minutes; then westbound traffic gets their 15 minutes. When a train comes, vehicles from both directions just wait.

100_0441-Entrance to Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel
At the entrance to Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel in Whittier

In Whittier, we visited the office of the Alaska Ferry system, considering taking a ferry from Whittier to Prince Rupert, British Columbia when we finished touring Alaska. It would have meant a lot less driving for Doug and a faster trip back to the Lower 48. We even went so far as to book a reservation for a couple of weeks out, but we subsequently cancelled it, deciding to stick with our original plan of driving all the way.

We camped that night at Portage Valley RV Park, where we had camped on Day 17, on the way down to Homer.

6 comments:

  1. That blue in glacial ice is amazing. What a grand section to explore, I have my atlas nearby to follow you.

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  2. Steve - Glaciers are pretty amazing in so many ways. The sounds they make are awesome. I'm glad you're enjoying this little travelogue. :)

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  3. What a beautiful pictures! Seward and environs is one of the most beautiful places on earth - and I've seen a few!
    Thanks,
    -Arie

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  4. Thank you, Arie. I agree with you regarding the beauty of that area.

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  5. I've never seen anything like that ice I don't think. Doug should win medal for all that driving. :)

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  6. Elizabeth - Glaciers are fascinating on so many levels. As for Doug...he did indeed deserve a medal for all that driving. But all he got was someone to listen to him complain. :)

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