Ron & Elena's 2011 Travels travel blog

 

 

Typical of the views as we drove north on the Seward HW.

Always nice views of the snow covered mountains and glaciers to the...

Visitor center at Portage Glacier.

This ranger told us all about the 1964 quake and its effect...

We watched a nice film about Portage Glacier in this theatre. After...

 

There are several glaciers in this area. This map shows the extent...

Nice mounted ptarmigan showing their plumage in (L-R) summer, winter, and Spring/Fall....

The dock for the glacier cruise.

We took the tour on this boat.

View of the mountains near the boat dock. That's Da Honu lower/center.

Portage Lake is surrounded by snow and glacier covered mountains like this.

At the far end of the lake is Portage Glacier.

One of many, many waterfalls feeding the lake. Those white stripes are...

Portage Glacier is actively "calving". This iceberg is about as big as...

The captain took us right up beside it for a closer look...

Portage Glacier

It's hard to judge the size without any familier objects for scale...

The ice of the glacier looks very blue because it is so...

Our boat lingered about 1,000 feet from the glacier to enjoy the...

We did witness a large piece of of the glacier break off...

A few more shots of the beautiful blue ice.

 

 

The happy sailors.

The Alyeska Resort Hotel.

More beautiful flowers. We're always surprised how many flowers we see all...

Ready to board the tram for our ride from about 300' elev....

Looking back at the hotel as we ride up the mountain.

Zoom shot of the hotel from on top.

A "map" of our view from on top.

A few more photos of our view from the top.

 

 

 

View of Turnagain Arm. This is the south end and right now...

Paraglider getting set up to take a run off the edge of...

The paraglider at the center of the photo is heading for the...

I don't think I'll ever be brave enough to try something like...

A view of the back of the hotel.


(Ron Writing) It was very cloudy this morning when we left the Hope area and headed back on Hope HW to the Seward HW. We enjoyed our drive north on the Seward HW even under the clouds. The views along this road are spectacular with the snow-covered peaks and ice fields to the east.

Our first stop was at Portage, or rather the place where the small town of Portage was located before the 1964 earthquake. The 9.2 earthquake is the worst ever recorded in North America and caused the earth to subside about 18 feet in this area. That was enough to allow the water in Turnagain Arm to flood the town of Portage whenever there was a high tide.

We drove to the Portage Glacier area to tour the visitor center and take a boat ride on Portage Lake up to the face of the glacier. The glacier has been receding for the past 100 years or so and now it can only be seen from the lake or by taking a long hike. By early afternoon when we took the cruise we were getting a little sunshine at times and there was almost no wind so it was very pleasant on the lake. But the closer we got to the face of the glacier the more we could feel a very cold wind coming off the ice. It was almost too cold for our light jackets up on the open deck.

Leaving Portage we continued north along the east shore of Turnagain Arm to the small town of Girdwood. This small town also “sunk” in 1964 but the town folks moved many of the buildings uphill to the east to relocate on higher ground. The attraction at Girdwood now days is the Alyeska Resort and ski area. It’s the premier downhill sky area in Alaska with many runs for people with all levels of skill. There is a beautiful resort hotel at the base of the mountain and a gondola lift that is used for skiers in the winter and sightseers in the summer. We rode the gondola up about 2,000’ to enjoy the beautiful views of the local mountains and Turnagain Arm. We also enjoyed watching the paragliders who jump off the top and glide down to a landing field near the hotel. For just $195 ea. we could have glided back down strapped double to an expert pilot but we decided to just take the gondola back down!

We got to Anchorage late this afternoon and stopped at Sam’s Club for a few things before heading north to Eagle River, AK where we are spending the night.

Weather: Overnight low was 52°. Mostly cloudy but pleasant weather today, highs in the mid 70’s

Mileage: Today - 107 miles, cumulative since leaving AZ on 4-6-11 – 8,017 miles.

Tonight’s stop: Eagle River, AK

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