Alaska, An Excellent Choice ~ Day 4, Alaskan Railroad

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August 26th 2015
Published: October 18th 2015
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Click here for photos from this ride

The 9-and-a-half-hour train ride from Denali to Whittier was also an excellent choice. In fact, Barb still says it was the most fun part of the trip. We stood outside the Princess Denali in a cold rain waiting for bus 8 to take us to the train. And, yes, I think every car on that train had the Princess name on it. Before we even landed in Alaska, Maureen mentioned her brother coaching her from past experience to make sure to get a seat on the top of a train car that had windows. Maureen and I were both ready to fight our way to the top, but were relieved (we’re both kind of pass-the-fists pacifists) to see that every car had windows and everyone had assigned seats that were all in the upper part of the train. We were assigned to the second car behind the engine, and all of the windows were covered in rain, but at least we didn’t have to fight for position.

We were happy to see the folks that took over our table at the restaurant last night in the seats behind us on the train. The first 3 shots in the
gallery were from before the train left the station. I usually try to keep people out of my shots, and rarely include any intended poses in the gallery. The first photo was added as a quick access for my own indulgence, (a portrait of the smiling faces that made this trip such a pleasure) for those moments when I might need a boost above some gloom. In the second shot, the only one of our 5 looking at the camera was Maureen. All 6 of our friends from the Cherry Hill area of New Jersey, however, were smiling —in fact, they seemed to be smiling throughout the whole trip as if they too were oblivious to the gloomy weather. That’s what friends can do. Behind the general was Ruth and Russ; behind them was Mike & Mary across from George and Eileen. Maureen took the 3rd shot so I’d have a face to prove my presence.

When the train started, my only shots were of the raindrops on the windows, photos 4 thru 7. Since the limited visibility eliminated the possibility of capturing the splendor on our cameras’ memory cards, we’ll have to rely on the shadows recorded in
our own memories to affirm the beautiful scenery. Yes, the Alaskan Railway from Denali to Whittier is a spectacular photo excursion, yet we can only attest to it without evidence. Photo 10 is of the cloth on the back of the seat in front of me.

Fortunately we were not confined to our assigned seats for the 9½ hours, although they served us food and plenty of drinks there throughout the trip. There was also a restaurant, and a bunch of interesting cars to explore. Come to think of it, there was no gift shop. We ate breakfast in the dining car below and in front of us, then just came and went as the feelings fell. Phil and the general played cards a few cars back, and Barb & I once visited them. No one on the train seemed interested in shooting the sights, probably because they couldn’t see them until we entered Anchorage, more than three fourths of the way through the trip.

Photo 11 was taken at our stop in Anchorage where we changed conductors. It may represent the way she looked outside the window walking along the tracks in the rain, but photo 12
is more representative of how I felt she looked. Eleven is old, dusty and gloomy, while twelve hides the negative behind the amusing, even cheerful, side of colorful raindrops.

Since I’ve already stated that the scenery from Denali through Anchorage is spectacular, what can I say about the view from Anchorage to Whittier? Spectacular plus? Even more spectacular? One thing it was for us was more visible. It was still raining, but we could see through it better. Photos 13 thru 39, the bulk of the gallery, was taken from this short part of the journey. We had the Chugach State Park on our left, and the Chugach National Forest on our right as we chugged toward Portage. You can easily imagine how, when the light is right, this is a most awe-inspiring visual experience. Even on such a gloomy day as we had, its majesty shines through. That is, at least, until we entered the two tunnels on the way to Whitier. One tunnel was over 4 minutes long, and, as they mentioned, was about the same duration of an earthquake that once rumbled through the area in 1964. Earthquakes generally last less than a minute, but this
was the strongest yet recorded in North America. It’s a long time to hold your breath, which may be your practice in tunnels.

For us, Whittier was little more than a small, rainy area where the train stopped and we walked over to board the boat. Looking at images online, I can see there’s a lot more to Whittier than that. Still, it was nice to finally be in our stateroom, and I celebrated by bringing out the 16-35mm to get a few wide angles off our balcony, photos 40 thru 43. Photo 44 was of the wall hanging as we waited for seating for our first onboard meal.

The meal was fine, the company superb. We got to know the ship, and made it our home for the next week. We set sail at 8:30 that night, and would cruise for the next two days, so we had plenty of time to make ourselves at home.

Additional photos below
Photos: 7, Displayed: 7


18th October 2015

I seem to be missing something ...
Could it be that my computer is playing tricks on me, or are there really only seven photos with this article? I'd love to see the other 37 ...
18th October 2015

Yes, sir, Fred. Unless I screw up, there should be a link at the top of each post to the corresponding photo gallery. For this particular post, here is the URL: Thanks for your interest.
19th October 2015

Thanks, Marty
... for telling me how to view the rest of the photos. I like the way you have made some of the into digital "watercolours" too. Cheers, eh,

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