Portage, Whittier, Palmer and back again

We spent a rainy/windy weekend in Portage, AK. Portage is at the mouth of a canyon. If we learned anything from living in Utah, along the Wasatch front, we learned that the windiest places are at the mouth of a canyon. It rained steady with gusting winds all day Saturday and Sunday. The first pic is our site at Williwaw Campground ($18/no hookups). It’s a beautiful campground; all paved roads. Access to lots of trails (from gravel paths to boardwalks) to ponds and streams for salmon spawning areas (no salmon there yet) and the Trail of Blue Ice. When we pulled into this site, we could see the overhanging glacier above. It is a beautiful blue color.

On Saturday, we decided to go to Whittier; because it is there. We left the camper in the campground. It cost $12 to go through the tunnel. This tunnel is unique because the cars and trains share the same road. They let one or the other through every half hour or so. Whittier was really nothing to see although it might have been better if the weather was better. We thought we’d find a place to have lunch but nothing looked good. We should have brought a picnic and ate at Shotgun Cove picnic area.On Sunday, we attended church in Girdwood. The website only listed a PO Box for the address but we drove around looking for the meeting house – doesn’t always look the same but always has a sign on it. We called the Branch President after we couldn’t find it. Turns out they rent the ‘Our Lady of the Snows’ Catholic Church. It’s a beautiful log chapel (great big logs). It reminded us of the Brighton, UT, LDS chapel with the view of the mountains from inside. It had long wooden benches (we didn’t use the knee pads). A young woman sat at the back to operate the CD player since they didn’t have a pianist. The congregation was probably only about 30 people and they were grateful for so many visitors :-). They are a warm and friendly group; great talks from the High Councilmen about choices we make being ‘good, better or best’. The Branch President was definitely Alaskan; pony tail to the middle of his back. We enjoyed the Spirit.

We stopped at Bird Creek (see below) to see if any fishing was going on and boy was there! One guy was catching almost every cast – frankly, he looked a little bored. He had a large one on his stringer and was releasing the rest. They are fishing at low tide. Watching the fishermen cross the mud slick to get to the gravel riverbed was almost as fun as watching the fishing. Everyone stayed on their feet though. We didn’t fish, we kept going north – want to get to Fairbanks and back before the silvers complete their run!

We spent Monday night with family in Palmer. We always enjoy visiting with my sister and brother-in-law and they have our nephew with them this month so it was fun to visit with him. We left their house on Tuesday morning, headed for Fairbanks until I changed our minds :-). The worst wildfire in the state is up by Fairbanks and there are health advisories from Denali north. So, we turned south.
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