Musings along the railroad.. :)

Whittier Travel Blog

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The trains on the Alaskan Railways serve to be more than mere modes of transportation. Each coach of the train has a dedicated tour guide who narrates little stories about the history of the places that the train passes through.. and points out wildlife on the way.. and is generally there to help answer any queries that the passengers may have.

Interesting tidbits I gathered on the train from the staff -

- A lot of the mountains in Alaska are very prone to avalanches in the winter. And so, in the more populated areas.. like along the Anchorage-Seward highway, great care is taken in the planting and maintaining of trees on the mountains... To keep the area as safe as possible.

- Although Alaska is about 3 times the size of the Texas, its roadways are smaller than that in Rhode Island!

- 1 in every 5 Alaskans is a pilot as it is essential to fly to get to most other cities in Alaska. Most big houses that I saw while on the train, had a huge backyard that housed not only a boat, but also a small aircraft!

- The Bald Eagle is the national bird of the state. And this must be the only place in the world that has a state weed! Yup, a weed! Not a plant.. not a flower.. a weed! Its called ....umm... fire weed or something. And it marks the coming of summer in Alaska. So this little weed is greatly loved by the people here. And it is curently on its way out... signaling the approach of the winter season.

Right now the train is traversing through the Chugach mountain range.
.. Again, lovely. But I know better today. I faced a lot of frustration yesterday trying to capture the Kenai mountains.. And I know now that the best thing to do is to just sit back and relax... And enjoy the view. Nothing takes it in like the eyes do!

The more I see these smaller (only relatively!) mountain ranges, the more I crave the mighty Alaskan ranges... Supposed to be the tallest mountain ranges in this part of the world, I have only caught glimpses of the ranges here and there..
It is claimed that the tallest peak of these ranges - Mt. McKinley is even taller than Everest. But it loses out on the fact that a huge portion of it is under sea level.

I look forward to seeing it tomorrow!!!

You know, as I was walking along the streets of Anchorage, I looked around.
.. and saw people going about their daily business.. Opening shops.. cleaning up.. waiting for buses...
And I couldn’t help but wonder how these people managed to keep their wits about them in a place so gorgeous! I couldn’t even walk straight! Every where I turned I saw a more beautiful sight.. and I found it so difficult to focus on the task at hand (to get to the cafe!) ... I just kept stopping here and there.. looking around.. sighing! And these people seemed to be so unfazed by all the beauty around them. When I asked one of the stall keepers at the marketplace, he said he'd been seeing these mountains from the day he was born... So 60 years of seeing them constantly kinda takes the magic away....

I don’t know why, but I felt a little sad at that thought. And sensing this, he smiled and said.. "But that said, I wouldn’t want to live in any other place on Earth.. I just couldn’t, I've been living in Paradise, see! I wouldn’t trade this for anything!"

I wonder how I would feel about a place like Alaska if I had lived here all my life. Would the mountains still take my breath away? I don’t know..

But on my walk this morning... with the wind blowing just right.. and the temperature at that pleasant perfection.. with the mountains to my left and the ocean right behind me.. with a nice little breakfast warmed and packed up... I felt it just couldn’t get any better than this.

And then I heard it.... the sound of the church bells :)
cotton_foam says:
I think that are eyes are meant to get tired so to speak with the beauty on this side so that we would year for a more glorious place on the other side of heaven...I don't know that's what I just thought... But that does not mean we don't appreciate all these beauty that were used to already... This is another great journal again!
Posted on: Sep 28, 2013
anupa_rk says:
Oh you must definitely plan another trip. And this time, spend more time on the great land than on a ship! ;) .. But I can imagine the cruise was a grand experience too.
Posted on: Mar 12, 2010
jethanad says:
yes, I have been to Alaska, but only on a cruise, your write-up makes me want to go again!
Posted on: Mar 12, 2010
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