Tom and I went to Alaska last summer. It was one of our most expensive trips though we were there for only 2 weeks!! We flew into Anchorage from Florida on August 10, 2015 and had a rather hectic vacation... so many places to visit but so far apart !!! We rented a car and drove around exploring for a week before embarking on our week's cruise on board Holland America's Zaandam.
Early next morning, we took a day long train ride on board Alaska Railroad's Chugach Express to Grandview, a remote wilderness spot named for the spectacular views seen from this alpine meadow in the Kenai Mountain range south of Anchorage.
We had been to the Swiss Alps so the high point of the trip was actually the tunnel crossing at Whittier. This is the longest tunnel in North America. It took only about 5 minutes to travel the 2.5 miles under the mountain in pitch darkness except for the light of the train but it felt much longer !!!
This is a one-track tunnel shared in turn by the train and cars. It
is a trifle nerve-wracking to think what would happen if there was an accident inside the tunnel.
It is also quite a sight to see a train pull out into the open from inside a massive mountain ( last clip on below video taken on our return trip by car the next day home from our 26-Glaciers viewing cruise ).
26 Glaciers Cruise
The day-long cruise into Prince William Sound to view the majestic tidewater glaciers on board the Klondike Express, Alaska's largest and fastest catamaran, was an unforgettable experience and one not to be missed by anyone visiting Alaska.
Tom and I saw one stunning vista after another ... glaciers and icebergs, seals and otters in glorious harmony with nature! Neither words nor photos do justice ...
Surprise Glacier - Hundreds of Seals
We have never seen so many seals in our lives ... hundreds of them, fat and happy, basking in the sun on top of chucks of ice floating at the base of the tidewater glacier !!!
Surprise Glacier - Floating Icebergs
Surprise Glacier - Tiny Calving
We videoed a tiny Glacier Calving soon after we arrived at the base of Surprise Glacier.
Surprise Glacier - Tom & Margaret
We excitedly pose for pictures of ourselves against Surprise Glacier as a backdrop.
Coxe Glacier - Waterfall
The huge waterfall cascading into the turquoise water at the base of the tidewater Coxe Glacier was stunningly beautiful. The glacial melt waters is just crashing into the ocean. It is nature at its best - untouched by man.
Kittiwake Rookery - Thousands of Birds
It was a scene worthy of National Geographic!!! Thousands of birds on the cliffs and in the air against an unbelievable backdrop of sheer cliffs with twin falls. Click on below video to hear the sound of the birds ...
Tom and I feel very blessed to have seen what we did as many have visited Alaska without enjoying our experience. The park ranger told everyone that it was about the best day of the season and that we were all very lucky that it was such a clear day. The only item missing was a huge glacier calving but we were granted our prayers a week later in Glacier Bay.