Alaska – Whittier to Anchorage

Our ship docked in Whittier, AK.  There isn’t much to Whittier other than docks for cruise ships.  Most of the residents all live in the same building!  There is an interesting YouTube video that shows the building and some of its residents.

Last View of the Noordam
Last View of the Noordam

Still in Whittier, you can see mountains, glaciers, and clouds.

Clouds and Mountains
Clouds and Mountains

This waterfall is in Whittier.

Waterfall
Waterfall

 

Clouds and Mountains
Clouds and Mountains

We boarded a train headed to Anchorage.  But, before we can be on our way, we have to pass through a 2.5 mile long tunnel.  This tunnel is shared by autos and the train, based on a schedule.  In the picture below you can see the tops of vehicles waiting while our train passes them into the tunnel.

View Just Before Entering Tunnel
View Just Before Entering Tunnel

On the other side, we are greeted by these sub-arctic meadows.  They are composed of scrub vegetation (dwarf birch, alder, and willow).  We will see more of these meadows as we travel to and into Denali.

Sub-alpine Meadow
Sub-alpine Meadow

 

Sub-alpine Meadow
Sub-alpine Meadow

 

Mountains
Mountains

Our train passes alongside Turnagain Arm.  The arm was named by British explorer James Cook, who was forced to “turn again” when the waterway didn’t hold the fabled Northwest Passage during his 1778 voyage.  While the Bay of Fundy between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in eastern Canada has the world’s largest tides, Turnagain Arm has the secont greatest tides.  When a very low tide and a very high tide crash into each other in the narrow and shallow Turnagain Arm, the result is a bore tide.  This can result in a 5 to 10 foot wave in the water that locals can surf.  Read here for more info on the Alaska bore tides.

Turnagain Bay
Turnagain Arm

It was a quick ride into Anchorage where our next adventure will begin next time.

Mark

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