Published: June 24th 2007June 24th 2007
Jon and I took the Alaska Railroad up into the mountains on the Kenai Peninsula- not bad for my first train ride ever! We caught the train downtown in Anchorage and headed out, the railroad follows the Seward highway until you get near Portage which is about an hour out of town. On the way out of downtown Anchorage the railroad runs through about thirty back yards that make up an airstrip. It's been grandfathered in since you'd never be able to get away with that now - really, it's like twenty five feet from these houses. We finally saw some dall sheep today, up on the cliffs near Turnagain arm. There were four of them, just hanging around and eating. It's insane watching them walk along these mountain ridges hundreds of feet in the air, they're incredibly stable which is good since if they fell they'd land on the highway.
It was a pretty rainy day so we figured it was a good one to take a train and stay somewhat inside, but then spent most of our time on the train hanging out in the open-air junctions between the cars. The air was amazing and the views were
Your Very Own Airstrip
I think most of the people on the strip owned at least one plane. It might be hard to tell from this photo but this is actually someone's backyard.
spectacular. The railroad runs a program with the local highschool and juniors and seniors narrate the trip, which sounds pretty lame but is actually fantastic. We learned a ton of stuff about the area, and when we dropped off 95% of the train passengers at a cruise port there were only nine of us left including the guide and the forest services guy so we all sat up in the dome car and chatted until we got farther on and the rain let up. We got to about 1100 ft elevation, there were these huge shelters all along the route that permanently housed WWII Howitzers to control avalanche activity in the winters.
We saw one moose and alot of birds, three marmots and some mosquitoes the size of small birds, but still no bears. Soooo, on our way back to town the next day we spotted a conservation area and cheated!! More tomorrow :)
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