Chugach National Forest
We parked our RV at the Williwaw campsite (Click Here). It had been a fun drive from Anchorage along the Seward highway, and it was time to setup camp. Feeling a need to explore I took the blue trail and cut up towards the Explorer Glacier. I looked up and the water streaming down the gorge, and thought to myself: “No problem, how bad could it be.” Half way up it got pretty bad. It was steep, full of ice formations and crossing the creek later on became difficult, and three-quarters of the way up, I tossed in the towel. The boulders were too big and the incline was too steep. When I turned around to look, I was treated to a royal view of the valley below.
The next day we all went for short hike around the ponds and viewed the salmon from the fish viewing platform. The salmon were spawning and the stream was thick with red salmon. We saw a mama moose hiding in a thicket and spent a good 30 minutes trying to take it’s picture.
To get to Whittier, which is just down the road from Williwaw, you need to go through the secret passage. Rather than build a road over the mountain, engineers tunneled through it. However, the tunnel is big enough for one way traffic. So each side takes turns. (Click Here for the schedule). Every fifteen minutes the traffic switches, unless of course there is a train, then everyone waits.
In Whittier we took a local cruise of the fjords. Aside from some glaciers in Blackwater Bay, we saw an abundance of wildlife. Sea otters, stellar sea lions, Dall’s Porpoise, humpback whales, and a whole menagerie of sea faring birds. Our favorite was the tufted puffin. These birds were extremely difficult to photograph as they were very skittish. The cruise ended back in the harbor where the captain steered us near the jagged rocks on the far side of the sound to see the Kittiwake bird colony. Amazing.
When there is so much wildlife and so few people, it’s hard to imagine the threat level. It’s hard to see the changes in areas of abundance. Alaskan’s know the treasures they have. There are over 20 national parks. Seven of them are in the top 10 largest national parks in the nation. With so little time, we were lucky to see what we saw.