My family usually travels a lot, but the pandemic postponed a trip to Alaska with my in-laws by a couple of years. At the end of May, we finally made it! After a long flight (after an even longer layover at Chicago O’Hare), we got our first glimpse of the Alaska Range from the plane.
One (very short!) night in Anchorage, then we headed east to Girdwood, where we saw our first wildlife–a black bear trudging along right outside our house. We were so excited, no one thought to get a picture, so you’ll have to take my word for it. It stopped, looked at us, then went on its way.
There were quite a few birds in the area, including a varied thrush. I would have loved to have seen one of these. We never did, but wow, did we hear them! Their call sounds like a referee blowing a whistle, so it sounded like there was a football game going on in the forest. And since it never got completely dark at night, it went on and on and on.
We took a day trip to Prince William Sound, which requires a drive through a tunnel. It’s a single lane, so traffic has specific times when it travels in each direction. But that’s not all: The tunnel is also used by a passenger train! Here’s what it looks like inside. Those are train tracks in the middle of the road.
And here’s what it looks like when you’re waiting to drive through and a train arrives.
The highlight of the day was a six-hour glacier cruise. We saw dozens of glaciers, watched some calve (break apart), and saw lots of wildlife: seals, hundreds of sea otters, half a million (really!) kittiwakes and other sea birds.
The only thing we didn’t get to see was a whale. We had high hopes. Apparently some had been in the area recently, but they must have moved on by the time we got there.