Since seeing the "northern lights" during summer time was a failure for me, I made sure my other goal should be met before I leave Alaska.
On my second day in the state, after having breakfast of meat patties and the "famous cinnamon rolls" at my hotel, I left my luggage with the front desk personnel, carried my backpack and went off to the railroad station. I had to call the hotline of Alaska Yellow Cab that morning because People Mover wasn't operating early on a Sunday.
The Anchor Railroad - Anchorage Station
The departure of the train bound for Whittier was scheduled at 10:00AM that morning, but I had to show my reservation papers and pick up my tickets at the counter at least an hour earlier or it may be forfeited.
a train on display outside the station
The train Chugach Explorer came a little late but it still didn't kill the excitement of the passengers that were amazed as the train arrived. I was on the upper deck of this end car.
inside the train, upper deck
The train featured lush seats and power outlets for the passengers, making the 2.5 hours ride comfortable and enjoyable. I had the whole booth for myself so I was busy using my computer while listening to music on my Zune and sending SMS messages to someone back home.
The whole trip was enjoyable and the view was entertaining!
Upon arrival in Whittier, a number of us booked with Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises was picked up by this mini-bus for a short ride to their office and wharf.
The whole package tour, which I booked for around USD200 inclusive of taxes and other fees, consists of the roundtrip fare from Anchorage to Whittier, cruise to Prince William Sound and lunch of Alaskan King Crab Cake.
Since we left Anchorage late, we also arrived late in Whittier. The cruise ship Glacier Explorer were waiting for the railroad passengers and it went off as soon as everyone was inside. The whole cruise time was around 4 hours.
Here are some shots I took from the cruise:
a view from the side of Glacier Explorer
inside the ship
view of the Marina from the ship
waterfalls near a Kittiwake Rookery
closer look, see all the birds
our lunch, Alaskan King Crab Cakes with rice and bread
ice over mountains
ice drifs in the water
Harbor Seals resting over ice
Sea Otters playing in the water
Sea Otters from afar
Shotgun Cove and the "Secret Falls"
closer view of the "Secret Falls", it is called as such because it's not obvious from afar unless you look closer
I had a small time to go around the dock after the cruise so I took time to take shots before our train back to Anchorage departed at 6:45PM.
around the marina
I happen to pass by a signage that leads to a pedestrian tunnel to downtown but I didn't take my and miss my train. Whittier
boats and yachts docked at the harbor
US Coast Guard station
Whittier Harbor signage
beautiful building architecture
The train arrived an hour after the cruise while I was exploring the area. After some shots, I immediately boarded, rested and waited inside the train.
gadgets that accompanied me throughout the trip
The train departed just in time. Again, I was entertained by the beautiful sceneries along the way.
folks hand-fishing Salmon from a river
The reason why I left my luggage at the hotel front desk earlier is because I'm staying for the night at Alaska Backpackers Inn, for USD25.
reception area of the backpackers inn
inside my dormitory room. I'm sleeping at the bed below and there are only four beds in the room (2 double-deckers).
view from the room
common living area
me inside the dormitory room
I left early in the morning (again by calling the cab hotline), passed by the hotel to grab my luggage and went straight to the airport. That was the end of my trip and I am again heading, bound from Anchorage, Alaska to Seattle, Washington to Tokyo-Narita, Japan and then ultimately to Manila, Philippines.
on the way home from Seattle, WA
The whole trip was definitely a good experience for me, although a bit tiring - a business conference in Seattle, Washington, USA a couple of weeks back; a side trip the weekend after in Victoria, Vancouver and British Columbia, Canada; a whole week of training right after in our corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington, USA; and lastly a quick sidetrip in Alaska, passing by Anchorage and Whittier.