Day five was a day of riding on Alaska Railroad trains, starting and ending in Anchorage. It was a beautiful sunny day. A great day for taking pictures.
The hotel we stayed at was next to Ship Creek, a creek running through the city of Anchorage. When I looked out the hotel room window in the morning I was surprised to see people fishing in the creek. It's Monday morning, I'm in downtown Anchorage and I'm looking at people fishing. Not something I was expecting.
The Alaska Railroad station was a block away from the hotel. Some of us went to the station to photograph a train we would be riding later in the week, the Denali Star. It left the station before the train we would be riding. There was time some time to wander and have a cup of coffee before we had to be at the station. The group assembled at the station where we picked up our tickets and boarded the Glacier Discovery train. We rode this train to the port city of Whittier where we got on a different train. At one point between Anchorage and Whittier we saw mountain sheep playing on the steep slopes near the train tracks. On the side of the slope near the tunnel in Whittier was an eagle's nest. There were recently hatched babies in the nest being taken care of by mom and dad. The huge nest was close enough to the tracks to see the adult eagles. We rode this train to Portage and then on to Grandview before returning to Whittier. On the way to Grandview we saw a few brown bears. After reaching Grandview we returned to Whittier where we had enough time to get some dinner (I had my first taste of Moose Drool here) before boarding the train back to Anchorage. It was after 9 PM when we got back to the hotel. I took my camera and went out looking for trains to photograph. The Alaska Railroad has shops across the creek from the hotel. I took advantage of the daylight to get photos of activity at the shops. To get to the shops I had to cross Ship Creek. Walking along the creek and over a bridge I could not believe what I saw. The were dozens of people fishing in the creek! And all of them were catching fish. I chatted with one of the fishermen as he was packing up and going home. He had caught and release a few salmon. He explained there were three types of salmon in the creek and that he had not caught the type he wanted. When I told him that I was from Massachusetts and was in Alaska with a group of railfans, he told me that he had spent a year working for a railroad in Maine. It's a small world!
See the dark dot in the center of the picture? That's a brown bear.
Click on the picture if you can't see the bear.
The Alaska Railroad Station in Anchorage
Alaska Railroad locomotives 2002, 3013 and 4015 the "Spirit of North Pole"
ARR domes 501 and 521
Alaska Railroad car shops in Anchorage, Alaska at midnight
All photos copyright © 2004,2006 John Simakauskas