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Jun 22, 2013

This morning I woke up pretty early. It was pretty light outside but I stayed in bed for a while, until the rest of the woke up. We got out of bed at 8:00 am and after dressing we ate breakfast. The visitor center at Portage Glacier opened a 9:00 am and we arrived a little before it opened. We spent about an hour there at the visitor center. The glacier has changed a lot since I was there in 1992. In 1992 the glacier was huge and not far off the road. In 2013, the glacier had receded around the corner of the bay, so you could not see anything from the visitor center.

We had to drive around the mountain for the 10:30 am tunnel crossing. The tunnel to Wittier is 2-1/2 miles long and is only one lane wide and is shared with the train. When driving, you have to wait for your turn as they send traffic one way, and then the other. When there is a train, no one can drive through. We had to pay a $12 toll and then take our place in line. It took about 15 minutes to drive through the mountain.

Wittier is just on the far side of the mountain. The population is only 220 people, almost all the residents live in one large apartment building. There was a cruise ship in the harbor so I am sure the tourist outnumber the resident 10 to 1.

We parked in the big parking lot and went to get our tickets for our boat tour. We had about an hour so we walked on the boardwalk and down to the private boat harbor to look at the boats.

We boarded the Glacier tour boat about noon. The cruise left at 12:15 and returned at 5:30 pm. We rode about 110 miles round trip. They served a salmon and prime rib buffet for lunch with some desert on the way back. On the way to Surprise Glacier we rode around Ester Island. There were several large groups of sea otters floating in the ocean. When we boated into a small bay we saw several bald eagles in the trees.

Our destination was the Surprise Glacier in Harriman Fjord. They took the boat quite close to the glacier. We the glacier calve off a few chunks of ice. As we arrive at the glacier a big one calved off, but nothing big while we were there. On the way back to Whittier, we stopped at a rock where a large group of birds roosted.

After we got back to Whittier we walk a little around town until we left in the RV and for the 6:30 pm tunnel crossing.

After passing through the tunnel we drove to across the Kenai peninsula to Soldotna. We decided to camp in the Fred Meyer’s parking lot with about 20 other RVs. We originally stopped at a campground by the river, but there were so many mosquitoes and they wanted $20 night. Since it was so late and were leaving early the next morning, we decided to take the free spot.

We ate Hot Pockets for dinner and then went to bed. It was about 10:30 pm and still very light outside.

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