We were done with Glacier Bay in the mid afternoon and started the long haul towards Whittier which is the port for Anchorage with a small side trip to College Fjord for a little scenic cruising. I think I will sneak one more of those amazing Alaskan sunsets in here; this was taken after leaving Glacier Bay and on the way to College Fjord
We arrived in College Fjord a little over 14 hours after leaving Glacier Bay. It was beautiful but after spending a day in the Glacier Bay National Park is was a bit anti-climactic. It was just for a few hours and then on to Whittier for debarkation early the following morning.
If we had not added on a land tour package this would be the end of the trip. Since we had included Denali with a brief one night stop over at a privately owned lodge our excursion continued. When I say private, I mean the cruise line owned it.
We got directly off the ship and onto to train cars operated by the Alaskan Railroad. I intend to be kind but honest. This train ride may have been the low point of the entire trip except it finished in second place because the air flight home was worse. It may well be a necessary evil of public ground transportation in Alaska but I think I would rather ride a bus; moving on now.
Eventually after transferring to a bus for the final hop we arrived at the private lodge and secured our room. The lodge was situated with a clear line of sight to Mount McKinley, or Denali. A lot of times that mighty mountain was obscured by clouds or haze. The lodge did offer a wake service a call any time of day or night when the mist cleared they would call you so you could view or take pictures.
That wakeup call was a really nice touch that I declined. I prefer to sleep and mighty mountains should only have their pictures taken with their clouds on. Here is one shot that isn't all that bad. After riding the rails and switching to a bus which made several turns, I am not sure exactly where I was in relation to the mountain at the time I took this; somewhere south is my best guess. I do know we were at least an hour away by bus. Did I mention the buses go faster than the trains? If you want to get up at 3 am and do better; go for it.
Take picture at 3 AM? I think I forgot to mention that this far north it never really gets dark in mid-June. A heavy dusk for about 3-4 hours a night in mid-June is about as dark as it gets.
The lodge was nice. The staff superb! The fans almost cooled the room. Oh shoot! I guess I forgot to mention that many places in Alaska do not have air-conditioning. I am being a little sarcastic but it does make sense. Why spend the money for something that will only be used 1/6 of the time? Before morning we were rooting around for those blankets and 2009 was warmer than the norm so the lack of air conditioning may not really be an issue for most people.
There wasn't a lot to do at this lodge. It is a good thing the Alaskan Railroad wore me out. In checking the current year offerings from this cruise line, I did not see this option offered so your mileage may vary.
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