inside we got online on both of our laptop computers with our Verizon
MiFi card because we don't have a strong enough signal at nearby
Williwaw Campground. (We don't have smart phones yet.)
Once inside we looked at the exhibits and Alaska Geographic bookstore
again and watched the 20-minute film in the large, comfortable theater.
If you have any type of National Parks pass, entry is free.
Otherwise there is a nominal fee to see the exhibits and view the movie
but you can still enjoy other parts of the visitor center like the
bookstore and large windows with a great view to Portage Lake and
A scene from the visitor center film
The film is a different one than
we saw three years ago -- less science about the Chugach Natl.
Forest, more about climate change -- but the photos and narration
are still good and the surprise ending is still jaw-dropping even though
we've seen it before and knew it was coming.
When we left the visitor center we noticed these rafters preparing to
hit the water at the lake outlet below the parking area:
That would be fun! There is another picture below that shows two kayaks
on Portage Lake, another fun idea.
This pretty glacial-blue lake is fed not only by
Portage Glacier, which has receded out of view of the visitor center,
but also by other glaciers in the valley whose streams feed into it.
The first time we saw the lake
(June 27, 2012)
there were icebergs from Byron Glacier floating in it:
below: Portage Lake (6-27-12)
A couple weeks later, when we stayed at Williwaw
CG the first time, most of the ice had melted.
weather was more overcast the
first day (next photo below) but brighter the
next morning (second photo below). Both days the views were still memorable:
Although the scene was prettier the
last time we saw it that July, the low clouds still obscured the
mountains and glaciers.
When we went down to Portage Valley
on a day trip at the end of August three years ago we hiked back to Byron
Glacier. I didn't get any photos of the lake that time. The snow level on the
surrounding mountains was lower then but not as low as it is now in early
August of 2015.
Yesterday and today
there were no icebergs and no clouds to obstruct the views of the
mountaintops. The snow coverage is obviously much less, too.
Here are some nice
sunny photos of the lake and glaciers visible from it that I
took this weekend:
kayakers enjoying Portage Lake
The same peaks across Portage Lake dwarf this tour
boat that takes
passengers back an inlet to see what remains of
Byron Glacier is visible in the background, right.
Let's go get a closer look at Byron Glacier!
Continued on the next page: current
photos from two hikes to Byron Glacier and comparison shots from
three years ago when there was a lot more snow
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil