Trail of Blue Ice

We’re camped in Chugach National Forest, the second-largest in the country, I believe. What’s extra cool is that our campground is nestled among amazingly high mountains and glaciers, all around us. Here I am biking back from the iron ranger where we paid for our campsite for a week. That’s a glacier visible from the campground.

Bonus on the extra is this Trail of Blue Ice that runs for five miles alongside Williwaw Creek behind the campground. It runs through Alder trees and five-foot ferns and salmon that are digging little holes in the stream bed to serve as nests for their eggs.

We rode our bikes on two mornings along this trail and experienced several different biomes, if I’m using that word right.

Portage Lake Visitors Center

At one end of the trail is a tunnel that runs under the mountain to the town of Whittier, and in the same spot is the huge receding Portage Glacier and Portage Lake that’s left in its wake.

They all are viewable from the visitors center.

I can’t believe, with the gorgeous views around me, I’m posting photos from inside, but I was moved by the design of this place.

And, frankly, the wind was blowing so hard once we got off the wooded path and along the lake that my outside pictures aren’t so grand.

Those are two different glaciers, but my head is filled with the names of new flowers and rivers and peoples and mountains that I can’t keep glaciers in it, too.

Check out those gigantic waterfalls running the whole length of the mountains. The mountains are so sudden and so steep here that they startle you.

I tried to capture the blue of the ice, but the sun was too strong this day (amazingly).

Tracy is bushwhacking the way from the trail to the trailer so we don’t have to walk through the campground to get back. The campsites are large and wooded, though, so really it’s all the same rainforest-against-glaciers environment. Beautiful.

Salmon Viewing

The next day we rode our bikes on the same trail in the other direction.

Again, it amazes us how flat the trail is and then how suddenly the tall mountains come up to get you. When you look for trails to hike, they’re all in only two categories: flat and easy, or steep and strenuous.

This trail is better built and maintained than most of the roads we’ve been on in Alaska.

This area is called Moose Flats, but I didn’t see any moose. I’d have to go back into Anchorage for that.

This area gets so much rain that it’s considered a rainforest, which is very different than the arid mountains we’ve been on in Yukon. This is not your standard dry tundra; the shrubby trees and bushes cover the mountains in lush green.

Again, with the glaciers lurking at the tops of mountains. Good grief they are everywhere!

I couldn’t get the tourists to move out of my photos. How dare they.

Tracy and I stood for about half an hour right here watching sockeye salmon dig shallow holes in the stream bed for their eggs. I am the world’s worst wildlife photographer, because we could see their white fins and tails and their red bodies right in the milky blue water. But man were they fast.

Trail of Blue Ice is five (flat, accessible) miles of awesome.

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