The trip out started OK and continued that way until we reached the river. We were astounded by what we saw! The dry river bed with the planks to walk on had become a raging torrent that was at least 200 feet wide. The ice dam at the glacier has burst and this torrent of ‘glacier milk’ was the result. Our concern was simple; how are we to cross? No one seemed to be in charge of crossing but the persons who were there told us there was a gondola like affair suspended from a rope and pulley lashup that was employed to cross the river. We saw that the rope barely prevented the gondola from becoming a leaky boat. The system was operated by anyone willing to lend a hand pulling on the rope. Patty and I watched the system being used to several people on the other side without anyone getting wet. We helped transport several people across and than it was our turn. Patty went first and made it across without getting wet even though she at mid-way was only inches above the water. I too made to the other side without incident. I was amazed at Patty’s casual attitude gien that she was uncomfortable near water. The drive out turned out to be just as tiring as the drive in. The guy at the car rental shop did not seem to be interested in stories about where we had taken the car. His disinterest in our destination did not change even when I told him we had lost a wheel cover somewhere in our travels. I decided to not tell him of where we had taken the car or how we lost the wheel cover. Better we leave sleeping dogs alone.
The City of Anchorage is sited at a high latitude and during the Summer months the length of a day is quite long; the sun does not set until after ten o’clock. We arrived at Anchorage the first day of our first trip to Alaska in the late afternoon hours and we went directly to our Motel and went to bed. We found it was hard to fall asleep even though we felt tired. We realized that it was broad daylight and it began to dawn on us that we were wasting precious time trying to sleep. We got up and we went for a drive on the road that runs along the side of Turnagain Arm. This is a very scenic drive that skirts the long inlet that is Turnagain Arm. It is worth noting the height of the tide at Turnagain Arm exceeds eighteen feet. Large tides like this makes for some awesome sights. The road snakes along the shore of the arm for about sixty miles and turns toward Seward at Portage. There you can see the Portage Glacier and the many icebergs floating in Portage Lake. There is a visitor center at Portage which affords very good heated indoor views of the glacier and interesting information about the Portage Glacier. The tracks of the Alaska Railroad run alongside the road . This is a bonus for me as I am a lifelong railfan. On our ‘can’t sleep’ ride that night we saw a tidal bore ( a single wave that travels at the head of the incoming tide), Dall sheep high on the rocky cliffs, the remains of a large forested area that had sunk below the water level during the 1954 magnitude – nine earthquake, and the automobile loading facility which make up the trains that carry you and your car on flatcars to the Port city of Whittier if you use the Alaska State ferry system. After all of this, needless to say, but we slept well that night.