Monday, July 4, 2011

Alaska Day 2

Anchorage & Whittier
7:30 – Eat Breakfast at Earth B&B
9 – Pan for Gold at the Crow Creek Mine
11:30 – Drive through the Historic Anton Anderson Tunnel
12:30 – Board the Historic 26 Glaciers Cruise
1:30 – Eat a fresh Alaskan lunch aboard the cruise
6:30 – Hike the Portage Glacier Trail
8:30 – Fine dining at Orso

WARNING: There are a lot of pictures in this post.

After eating breakfast we went to pan for gold!  Let me just say it is SUPER hard and tiring.  You pay $20 each to get a practice kit and lesson on how to find gold.  Then they set you on your own to figure it out.  After an hour of panning, we only found the 7 gold flakes that were in our starter kit, haha.  The guy said it was about $4 worth :) 

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Next we drove through the Anton Anderson Tunnel on our way to Whittier, straight through the mountain.  Laura, does the name Whittier ring a bell?  The tunnel is the 2nd longest highway tunnel in North America at 2.5 miles long.  It’s a one-way tunnel, so you have to make the schedule for the direction you want or you’ll be waiting around for an hour :)

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After driving through the tunnel at 25 mph with a save distance of 100 feet behind the guy in front of us, we arrived in Whittier.  Then it was time to board our glacier cruise.  The cruise was really fun.  We sat at a table with an older couple from Massachusetts and had a nice conversation with them throughout the day. 

On the cruise we got to see humpback whales, sea otters, harbor porpoises, mountain goats and some birds.  Then of course we saw a bunch of glaciers!  We even saw one calving…pretty awesome, but of course no picture of it happening.  It did create a pretty big wave that rocked the boat a little.

Here’s the route we took on the boat according to Luke’s GPS watch:

Whittier Cruise

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Here I am scared that we’re going to have a “Titanic” situation on our hands.

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And here I am saying “Titanic” with my air quotes.

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Those white spots are a bunch of birds!

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After the cruise, we went to hike the Portage Glacier Trail.  We didn’t have much time to do it before the tunnel opened in our direction so we had to book it.  Let me just say, it was HARD!  We were basically running up the mountain…not easily done.

Here’s a map of the route and our climb in Elevation from Luke’s GPS watch:

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Here I am taking a break…isn’t my husband so kind to take a picture of me :)

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But we made it!

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Then we headed back to Anchorage.  Whittier is about an hour from Anchorage, so we had a nice drive through beautiful scenery.  I even saw the cutest black bear trying to cross the railroad tracks.  A train was coming up slowly, so he ran off and I couldn’t get a picture.  And on the drive back I got to open Surprise 3, which was a pack of “Just Married” balloons.  We were going to put them on the car, but forgot to :)

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And we got all dressed up for a nice dinner out.  Too bad I was sooo tired and almost fell asleep at the table :)  It’s about 10 PM in this picture.

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