It’s now Sunday morning and I’m back home after a superb 12-day trip through the Yukon and Alaska. The first photo is the view from our breakfast nook at 07:00 when I started writing this.
Another beautiful dawn in Anchorage – this was shot from my suite at 04:34 Friday morning.
One of the keys to an easy boarding of a cruise ship is timing. We left Anchorage at 9:30 and I planned on making enough stops to get us to Seward between the morning and afternoon rushes. The first stop was at Beluga Point along the Seward Highway. Some guidebooks say that sighting of beluga whales is common here – my experience from hundreds of trips is that sightings are rare, and we saw none today.
It was about a 9.8 day, though, and an extra photo stop for shots of Turnagain Arm at the Chugach National Forest sign was a must.
The Explorer Glacier, along the side road to the Portage Glacier visitor center.
I was surprised to discover that the entry fee to the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center has gone up to $5. The facility was built on the terminal moraine left behind by Portage Glacier in 1914 – among many other things, visitors see the dramatic retreat of the glacier, which isn’t even visible from the center anymore.
The view from the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center is fairly nice, too! 🙂
The view south from the Turnagain Pass Recreation Area (elevation 988 feet). This was our final stop except for the Seward Safeway so my group could pick up the allowable limit of wine to take on board.
The Celebrity Millennium, seen from the spot where I dropped everyone’s luggage after dropping them at the terminal. After a trip like we had, I really don’t like those good-byes. I’m anxious to get home but don’t want the trip to end, either.
This was the card that I got from the group – inside, Jo had written: “This is also Murray – after his ten days with the Kiwis! Crashing – and having a great rest, so well deserved.”
This is the southern end of the Alaska Railroad, at the Seward docks.
I had some misgivings about our little bus, but it worked out great. It has a very different feeling from the large motorcoaches that I’ve always driven before – more like having the family on an outing in the station wagon 🙂
I usually just drop my passengers and head home but on a day like this I just couldn’t do it – I even thought about spending a night. This is the Celebrity Millennium and the Small Boat Harbour.
This is Mount Marathon, with the trails used by hikers, and the runners in the Mount Marathon Race. From base to the 3,022 foot (921 m) summit and back down again in just over 40 minutes – incredible!
Sculptures at the Alaska SeaLife Center.
A people-friendly spot at the Alaska SeaLife Center
Down on the waterfront, a huge children’s playground with a spectacular background.
A last look at Resurrection Bay before heading north.
A couple of narrow bridges on the Seward Highway are being replaced.
Looking south up the Placer River Valley to the mountains at the head of Turnagain Arm.
Overlooking the Matanuska River from a viewpoint along the Glenn Highway.
Further along the Glenn and higher up the Matanuska River. As you can see, this is an exceptionally scenic road – one that gets little use and that I love driving.
The Matanuska Glacier.
Mount Drum (12,010 feet, 3,661 m) at Glennallen, at 11:00pm.
Nearing Tok at sunrise.
At the crossing of the Tanana River just east of Tok there’s a new bridge and an excellent new rest area that has lots of interpretive signs about the Alaska Highway in general and the bridge replacement in particular.
I hiked up through the brush to a ridge that allowed a good photo of the Tanana River with the new bridge and the old location.
The Alaska-Yukon border 🙂
One of the many gravel stretches on the highway this year.
A vast expanse of permafrost west of Beaver Creek results in tiny trees and a rolling highway.
The crossing into Canada at Beaver Creek (18 miles into Canada from the actual border) was dead simple despite my large number of shopping bags from JCPenney! Just follow the rules and be honest and this sort of thing won’t happen to you!
I’m really intrigued by this project that’s apparently testing ideas on how to get a highway to remain stable when built on permafrost. It looks both complex and expensive.
Dust and bugs – just like “the good old days” on the Alcan!
This was very odd, to the point that I really wondered for a few minutes if it was set up as a joke. A red light in the middle of nowhere, with no apparent reason and no people around. There was a sign saying that 15-minute delays were possible so I decided to wait up to 15 minutes. Seven minutes later a convoy led by a pilot car arrived, but when I was led along this 3-mile-long section of highway, I could see no reason for it – there was no work being none and there were no obstructions on the road. Very odd!
Nearing Whitehorse, there were some really interesting cumulus buildups, and although I didn’t get hit by any, some heavy rainshowers.
That’s it – back home again! I have a load of post-trip work to do today, then tomorrow it’s back to the long list of other stuff that needs to be attended to.