ALASKA RAILROAD Anchorage, Alaska

Expedition Team:  Dave Miller, Rosie Miler                                                                                      Expedition Date:  July 8, 2018

I surprised Rosie with a special trip.  We hopped on the Alaska Railroad at Anchorage for a 2.5 hour train ride southeast to Whittier.  Before we left Anchorage and it’s suburbs,  you could also see small airplanes in backyards.  The residents only needed a short grass or gravel runway or road to take off and fly anywhere around the state.  We were told one in 50 Alaskans fly airplanes to get around.  Most planes have interchangeable pontoons.

We passed beautiful landscape as the railroad ran parallel to the coast highway past Beluga Point.  You could see the tide was out creating dangerous mud flats.  One cloud that looked like an old airship or dirigible floated by.  The train passed many glaciers along the route.

Along the railway was the former town of Portage, destroyed in the horrific Good Friday earthquake (9.2 on the Richter scale) in 1964.  Ruins of one house remained from the earthquake’s tsunami.  The area’s elevation dropped 12 feet.  The flooding killed all of the green trees and turned them white, due to the influx of saltwater.

At Maynard Mountain the train went through the 2.5 mile Anton Anderson Memorial railroad tunnel (the longest rail-highway tunnel in the USA) and emerged at Whittier.  Over 90% of Whittier residents (population 400) live in one large apartment tower.  Nearby, several abandoned large buildings used by the Army in World War II as an outpost looked like a haunted  ghost town.  We boarded a large ship the “Klondike Express” for a special voyage out into Prince William Sound to see 26 glaciers.

After embarking from the train, I posed by a totem pole outside of the train station.  Overall, that day we left Anchorage at 9:45am and returned that evening at 9:15pm. It was a great train ride and glacier cruise.

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