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Two weeks ago Today we kicked off our new school year with a ride on the Chugach Express service to Grandview. This ride is always exciting and awe inspiring. This year is extra special as we get to share the experience with some special people. My nephews got to come along with us and Mo brought along her parents (Nana & Papa, honorary grandparents to my kiddos) as well as Mark & Laquita, our special friends! It was their first Alaska train ride experience too!
Sharing Alaska’s beauty with those you love never gets old!!

In the marsh area before Spencer Whistle Stop we saw a swan family. The babies are almost fully grown. We also saw a perched bald eagle a couple trees down from a nest. The train travels through the remnants of
Chugach nat’l Forest, an area 5.5 mil acres with only 90 Miles of road. Most being inaccessible by car. Then we move into the Kenai mountains.

At Spencer Glacier whistle stop, the glacier used to come down to the valley where the railroad camp was. This whole valley forest floor is only been exposed about 100 years old. The cottonwoods are apx 30-40 feet tall next to the train. The glacier has retreated about 2.5 miles but still about 6 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. *P

Copy of a 1914 photograph when the railroad was under construction. The glacier looked large over the camp.

A series of 5 tunnels cuts through the Kenai mountains. Its pretty cool going through them. Seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunel. Some inspiration for the tough days. The creek is about 100 ft below us.
The weather has turned beautiful today. One of the driest days this historically wet August has offered us.

The tunnels are dark, the light is reflection from inside the train.

The RR crews have been doing maintenance alongside the tracks, cutting back foliage. Fireweed fuzz is floating along in the gentle breeze.

We saw a marmot climb up onto the tracks of a parked bulldozer.

According to our onboard USFS Ranger, here was snow up at Grandview until July 4th weekend this year. Grandview, sitting at just over 1000′ elevation, sure has a, wait for it, grand view (Blame it in Alaska Nellie, she said it first!).  Photos do it no justice.

Grandview Whistle Stop

Alaska Nellie ran the roadhouse at Grandview back in it’s hey day. A true Sourdough in every sense. From walking into what became Grandview to manning the station on her own, Nellie was one tough cookie.

Trail Glacier

The sun is shining so brightly!  What a glorious day! We traveled past Grandview Whistle stop for another breathtaking view, Trail glacier. Below the glacier is the remnants of an abandoned beaver lodge and the resulting lack of vegetation. This area would have been underwater due to the beaver dam on the creek, thus the lack of trees.

Trailside waterfall.

We stop our journey south at Trail Glacier and begin the back-track to Grandview. There we disembarked and had about an hour to explore. I headed out to look for some berries!
I hiked up the trail to the waterfall and just beyond it we found some huckleberries and salmon berries, just enough for a taste. And so many mushrooms for my shroom cam!
The tree trunks are so magical with their twists & crooks and moss covered branches. Around every corner I expect to see a fairy fluttering away or a little troll hoping I didn’t see him.
I wish we had more time to explore. This trip needs to be combined with a two day hiking & camping expedition next time!
Back to the train for our return trip to Portage.
Collect memories/experiences instead of things .


One Comment

  1. It really was one of the most beautiful days this summer and it sure does have a grand view! We were very blessed, indeed.

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