A Travellerspoint blog

Day Fifteen - Kenai to Wittier

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Managed to get the fire going last night - worked so well we had to leave the door open. Also finally managed to upload the blogs for the past few days.

This morning we packed our bags for the last time, when we catch up with them aboard the Coral Princess we will enjoy the luxury of not having to pack up again for about 28 days.

Chris has scheduled us for a leisurely departure at 09:15 so that we have time for some photo stops along the way. The weather isn't brilliant but it isn't raining - yet. The photo stops were well worthwhile. The best was the Hope Glacier where Chris ensured that everyone had a chance to have their photo taken.

Next stop was a fish-viewing platform where we watched salmon spawn. This event occurs only at this time of year and we were most fortunate to see it in action. Trying to photograph grey looking fish under an overcast sky proved too difficult for me.

We then stopped at the day lodge on the shores of Portage Lake where a tiny lady provides food and beverage for the passing public. She also has an amazing collection of genuine handcrafted artifacts created by the local Indians. Exquisite pieces carved from materials such as walrus tusks.
We have a 12:30 schedule to enter the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, it is the longest tunnel in North America. It has only a single lane and both road and rail share the tunnel. On the half hour there is a 15 minute window for traffic entering from the West. On the hour the tunnel is open for traffic entering from the East. Interesting that is the only road into and out of Wittier. The enormous mountains that line the Prince William Sound make any other way impossible.

Arriving at the Cruise Terminal we were quickly processed through the embarkation.

Our stateroom (cabin) was ready but luggage was well behind. We started unpacking about 16:30 be were only half done when we had to go to a 17:30 dinner. Because of the trickling nature of arrivals all dining was unassigned but we were able to snag a table for two.

Back to the cabin and finished the unpacking and sat around - me typing this, Jenny studying the inside of her eyelids. Muster drill is at 19:45 and we sail soon after.

WiFi appears to be working in the cabin so I should be able to keep up to date.

We've cast off and are finding our way out of the Sound and out to the open ocean, smooth sailing for now.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view photo for today by following this link to my main album.
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 06:43 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day Fourteen - Floating Down the River

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Another really healthy breakfast and we're all fired up to go rafting on the Kenai River. The shuttle picked us up at the main lodge and dropped us off at the launch site for the 11 mile drift down the Kenai river. The illustration shows a calm blue stream in sparkling sunshine. What I observed was a raging torrent under an overcast sky and a tiny blow-up rubber boat.

Step one was to remove our shoes and find a pair of rubber boots the right size, turns out that two sizes up from your normal shoe size is about right. Next a pair of waterproof trousers with over the shoulder braces - too wide or too long isn't a problem. Next step is a waterproof jacket to go over whatever you had on and then the floatation vest. By now each of us looked about five sizes bigger than we are. Now the 'safety briefing' and signing the 'Industry Standard' disclaimer form.

It was a tight fit for eight of us plus the oarsman who was required to guide this bathtub toy down the river. We are shoved off and for the next two hours we drift down this fast flowing river. We're told that the trip is 11 miles, I'm sure that's right as it took almost as long on the shuttle to come back.

Along the way we enjoyed the sight of eagles perched along the river. There were fishers up to their waist in the water trying to catch that elusive trout. Also saw many salmon floating in the shallows and a good number washed up on the bank. These fish have spawned and are literally dying of starvation.

Our oarsman managed to dunk us into a wave or two and we really appreciated the water=proof gear.

Back at the lodge we enjoyed lunch in the Rafter's Bar and then returned to the cabin to write up this tale and light the fire. It isn't that we NEED the fire but it was provided and we wanted to experience that comfort of burning wood.

It is now at least 30 minutes later and the fire hasn't caught at all. will need to revisit that operation.

Will try to upload this lot down in the Main lodge, haven't had a lot of luck with that.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view photo for today by following this link to my main album.
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 15:40 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Day Thirteen - Copper River to Kenai

Monday, 7 September 2015

Bright sunny day as we leave the Copper River Lodge and head South West in the direction of Anchorage and on to the Kenai Peninsula. The drive is quite pleasant on the paved highway wit the most amazing scenery flashing past. There are lakes, rivers, mountains and glaciers at almost every turn. A comfort stop at the Matanuska Glacier Campground gave us the opportunity to take photos of the river, glacier and mountains beyond. The glacier is 26 miles long and four miles wide. It is one of the many glaciers that have been names but with over 1000 glaciers in the state there are many that remain unnamed.

A stop for lunch in Anchorage and then on to the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. An extensive property spread over 45 acres and built in the style of log cabins. Each of the accommodation cabins has four suites each with a wood fire in the event that it turns cold. There is also central heating so the fire places are mainly there for atmosphere.

Chris, our Tour Director has organised a cocktail party in the main lobby. The location is spectacular with dense green forests all around and carefully trimmed and maintained gardens and lawns. While there we took the opportunity to book an excursion for tomorrow. Something quiet, relaxing and not too long. The Raft Float sounds like the way to go. You float 11 miles down the river with opportunities to see all forms of wildlife. Hope the weather holds good.

We enjoyed a fabulous dinner and found our way back to our cabin. The WiFi setup has been a bit strange for a few days. My Samsun phone connects OK but the laptop fails to register. Will try again tomorrow, otherwise it will have to wait until we board the Coral Princess.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view photo for today by following this link to my main album.
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 15:37 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day Twelve - Copper River Lodge

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Woke up feeling awful and had no desire to get up. Jenny convinced me that we were not up to the scheduled excursion for today. She went down to the front desk to cancel our attendance. Sadly no refund but those are the conditions. Later Jenny went off to breakfast and brought back a boxed serve for me. Didn't feel much like eating but felt I had to. Crashed back on the bed and dozed until lunch time.

Freshened up a bit and went down to lunch and later a stroll around the property. It is set in some amazing scenery and the wilderness extends to the horizon. There are only four marls in this vastness, the river, the highway, the pipe-line and an electricity transmission line.

The colours are vibrant and the fog and drizzle of this morning has given way for brilliant sunshine. Time for some more medicine and another nap. Will complete this and try to upload it later tonight.

Just back from a most enjoyable dinner with the wide vista of the wilderness to look out on. Amongst many curious observations we are intrigued by the clouds which appear to be stationary. In all likelihood it has something to doe with the absence of high altitude wind currents which are more prevalent nearer the equator. So many curiosities just begging to be explored.

A road trip tomorrow to the last of our land-based destinations.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view photo for today by following this link to my main album.
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 15:35 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day Eleven - Danali to Copper River

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Breakfast in King Salmon then collect our carry-on to board the coach. Driver Patrick pointed out the important feature that distinguishes a 'bus' from a 'coach' - coaches have a rest room. An important feature on an eight hour journey.

The weather was not particularly inviting, low cloud and drizzly rain. The road for 90% of the journey was unpaved and well worn. The coach barely reached 30 MPH as the driver dodged pot-holes, parked RVs and ATVs. It is moose hunting season (limited to one week here) and there were many hunter's camps set up along the road.

Apart from the spectacular landscape that we travelled through the significant highlight was the Maclaren River Lodge. This small roadhouse provided excellent choices for lunch at very reasonable prices given their insolation and limited season. The bridge across the river provided an uninterrupted view back to the glacier of the same name.

At our arrival at the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge we were warmly welcomed by the manager and all veterans were offered a complementary badge. We have dinner booked for 19:50 and I have a headache coming on. Decided to rest up for a few hours. Woke up feeling only marginally better and made it down for dinner. I was certainly washed out when we made it back to the room at 21:15. No time for blogs or uploads.

No WiFi in the room so will need to upload this from the Great Hall.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view photo for today by following this link to my main album.
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 15:32 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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