Sunday, February 10, 2019

Cross Country Skiing and the Road to Whittier

This morning, we woke up to a plane landing in our front yard! Apparently quite a few of the houses surrounding have planes in their garages or basements. Most of them look pretty expensive, and there was an extremely nice dinner party going on in the house down the road this evening. We thought about dropping in and seeing if anyone wanted to join us for breakfast for dinner.

Sunrise behind our Airbnb
We swung by REI to pick up cross country skis and just happened to run into our friends Joe and Sarah again! They offered to go with us over to Kincaid Park and give us some pointers, even though they had just finished an outing of their own. We gladly accepted and met them at the park.

Tanner and Adam prepare to tackle the trails
We had varied experience among our group - Jocelyn had cross country skied before, Tanner and Seth downhill ski, Katy had been once a long time ago, and Adam and I had never even stood on skis. Needless to say, it took some getting used to. There were several wipeouts along the way, but, pretty soon, we were all fairly comfortable and moving right along.

Here comes the downhill!
We left Kincaid intending to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, but detoured to Popeyes for lunch before leaving Anchorage. Unfortunately, due to delays at Popeyes, it was soon obvious we weren't going to make the cutoff time for entering the park, but we decided to drive down to Whittier anyway, hoping to see the Portage glacier.

There were many beautiful spots on the highway down the coast to Whittier, and we stopped at a few roadside pullouts to take in the views and get a few stunning pictures.

Along the Seaward Highway
When we arrived at the entrance to the railroad tunnel to Whittier, Tanner pulled up to the toll both and told the man taking our toll almost immediately, "Bro, you look just like Blake Shelton!" They chatted as the transaction was processed (discussing his mullet, among other things), and we asked him about the hike to the glacier. We then pulled up to the tunnel entrance - only to discover that the next passage wasn't allowed until almost an hour later! Tanner said, "Man, we're going to have to go have a chat with Mr. Blake, again." Thankfully, "Mr. Blake" was kind enough to refund the cost of our toll, realizing, I think, after the fact, that he had allowed us to pay a toll for a time that didn't make sense, given the current time and our stated goal.

Since it would have been dark by the time we waited to go through the tunnel, instead, we explored the area around Portage Lake, near the Begich Boggs Visitor Center. Despite not being able to see the glacier itself (which was hidden at the far corner of the lake), the ravine containing the lake itself was majestic.

Portage Lake
We invited Joe and Sarah to join us for dinner at our Airbnb, and they offered to bring over some reindeer sausage. We gladly accepted, as that went well with the pancakes, bacon, and hash browns we were planning to make for dinner.

Last night, Katy had heard a few weird noises in her bedroom (affectionately referring to them as "the attic man") and when she started to hear them again this evening, asked Adam and I to investigate. After a little bit of searching, we discovered a staircase behind her closet that led to the basement hanger, where the owner's plane is parked. The basement itself was in disarray, and the one lone lamp burning in the middle of the garage, along with the pile of clothes laying clumped at the bottom of the steps didn't do much to add to the cheerful atmosphere. We did manage to pinpoint the noises (to the best of our ability) to the heat pump and hot water heater, though, perhaps making Katy feel marginally better about the situation.

Cumulative Moose Count: 23
Cumulative Bear Count: 0
Moose Involved Incidents: 0

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