Here’s some of what the Whittier Alaska website has to say about the port:
“Situated at the head of Passage Canal, the community of Whittier is approximately 58 miles southeast of Anchorage. Whittier is by far the most visited gateway to the mesmerizing wilderness of Prince William Sound. Each summer, thousands of visitors arrive at this magnificent port by ship, train, or automobile.
This area originally was part of the portage route for the Chugach Natives of Prince William Sound travelling to fish the Turnagain Arm. Later the Russians and Americans exploring the region also used this passage. It was used by prospecting miners during the gold rush, as it was the quickest passage from the Sound to the Cook Inlet and Interior regions.
The City of Whittier was incorporated in 1969. Today, less than 300 people reside in the town supporting the Alaska State Ferry, the Alaska Railroad, freight barge, commercial fishing, the Whittier Harbour, recreation and tourism with an annual visiting population of over 700,000.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
Much like the hundreds of thousands of visitors to Whittier, we were just passing through on the way to somewhere else. For us, the visit was necessitated by the fact that the Spencer Glacier and Placer River Float Tour we were taking made use of the Alaska Railways regularly scheduled trains to get us in and out of the remote region. After passing through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel the train pulled into Whittier and spent an hour there before reversing itself back through the tunnel.
We took a stroll through the few buildings that stand near the tracks, to enjoy the morning sunshine, while others in our group headed to the Inn at Whittier to pick up some take-away lunch. We had picked up our provisions earlier that morning at the Red Chair Café in Anchorage. It was time to try their chocolate red wine cookies.
The train’s whistle called us back to our rail car; we’d be in town less than an hour.