Alaska Update

We have been in Alaska for a month. It is warmer than we had anticipated and the weather has been beautiful. Things are turning green and flowers are blooming in the woods and in yards. One of the most prolific bloomers smells lovely and has beautiful white flowers. These trees are everywhere in the woods and in peoples yards. I liked them so much that I looked on the Internet to find out what they were. Come to find out, they are Chokecherry trees which is an invasive species that is deadly to moose. After finding out about the trees, I don't think they are so pretty anymore.

We have moved from the RV park to East Anchorage High School as school camper hosts. Anchorage schools have RVers live at schools in the summer to maintain a presence on campus. We are at the largest school in Alaska and are living in the staff parking lot with a beautiful view of the Chugach Mountains. Mary and I agree that this is the nicest place we have ever lived in the RV. We have large open fields, tennis courts, a track, a swimming pool, direct access to more trails than we will be able to ride while we are here. We have moose that walk through the school yard. I wish other places had the school camper host program.

We have not seen darkness since we arrived in Anchorage. The sun sets (sort of) every night, but it never completely leaves the sky. Fortunately the RV came with blackout window shades. We have added
Reflectix behind the blackout shades and to skylights to make the RV dark so we can sleep at night. I still have not totally adjusted; I do things such as turn on the porch light if we are going out in the evening.

Mary is off every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We are using those days to bike, hike and go on day trips. We visited the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center where animals are rehabilitated and reintroduced into the wild. We saw bears, moose, elk, wolves, bison, caribou and other animals at the center. The animals have huge enclosures and are well cared for.

We visited Whitther, AK. We had no idea of what we might see or find in Whittier, we just saw a road sign to Whittier and decided to go. On the way we drove through Portage Valley which was formed by Portage Glacier. It is a place to visit on another day. As we got closer to Whittier we saw a sign saying there was a toll to drive through the tunnel to Whittier. As we neared the tunnel, we quickly realized this was no ordinary tunnel. First of all the toll was $13.00, secondly there were all these traffic lanes with traffic lights, and thirdly the tunnel entrance looked like no tunnel we had ever seen.Whittier tunnel is 2.6 miles long. It has one single lane with railroad tracks down the middle of the lane. The tunnel is the only way to get to Whittier on land (you can fly or go by boat). Here is a video someone made driving through the tunnel.

After passing through the tunnel we arrived in Whittier. Whittier is located on Prince William Sound. The population of Whittier is 218. Each summer thousands of tourist arrive in Whittier by boat and train. During World War II Whittier was an Army post and seaport. A barracks building built by the Army has been turned into a condo that houses most of Whittier's current residents. The school is connected to the condo by an underground tunnel. (If you don't check out any of the other links on this page, you might want to check out the condo link - it is really interesting.)

We are really enjoying our time in Alaska. That being said, I am not sure I would like the winter in Alaska - the winters are just as dark as the summers are light.