After our stop in Hope, we passed through the Portage area once again in order to get to Whittier. In order to get to the tiny town of Whittier by land, you have to drive 2.5 miles through the longest tunnel in North America. It is a one-way tunnel shared by both directions of traffic and a train.
The tunnel was the first built to withstand -40 degree Fahrenheit weather and 150 mph winds. A marvel of its time… but still a little scary to be inside of for such a long distance for this scaredy cat.
Immediately after exiting the parking area on the other side of the tunnel, we made a quick left down a bumpy dirt road to our now most favorite FREE CAMPSITE RIGHT ON THE WATER. Sorry for the caps but look at this!!! Free!
And if you turn around, you will see this glacier! For free!!!!
And why is our truck parked so far away from our Airstream? Saving a couple spots for some friends.
Since this is a dry camping spot, we made sure to fill up at the last spot before we got here.
While the dudes worked on that, us ladies collected branches washed ashore, found a piece of rope and fashioned ourselves a teepee.
It didn’t take long before Luka to look at our creation and start tearing it down.
Once we were all settled in for our stay, the kids and I wandered down the beach for a little exploration.
We didn’t get too far once the kids discovered this old tree trunk near the water’s edge.
Hey, Mila? Help a brother out, will ya?
Then we flew to the nearest Sears for a portrait. We’ll pick the Whittier, Alaska back drop please!
We couldn’t resist a stop at what is acclaimed to be the best fish and chips around at Swiftwater Cafe.
Yummmmm. Kid and adult approved.
Before heading back to camp, we asked if we could fill up our water containers for free at the local shop/liquor store/hardware store/shower.
Well, I shouldn’t say free because we ended up buying some cheap beer. And cheap beer in Alaska, especially in these little town, equals way more money than I care to tell you about.
Before we knew it, our buddies Kate, Ellen and Adelaide of Birch & Pine arrived!! We met up with them in their old hometown of Lexington, Kentucky last fall while they were in the process of gutting and redoing the entire Airstream for a life on the road. And now we are in Alaska together. So unbelievable!
Not a bad view of their 1957 Airstream Overlander out our front door, huh!
The awesome thing about vintage trailers that get a little dusty on the roads to Alaska is that it’s okay to draw all over them with little fingers. No need to worry about the protective coating on the exterior skin like the new Airstreams.
I love looking back at old blog posts to figure where we saw traveling friends last. After departing ways, we say ‘see you down the road’… but never know exactly when and where that will be. I love recounting all the places we’ve spent time with others.
We chose to spend a lot of time together at camp… talking, cooking. drinking, exploring and building stronger friendships.
Glacial water run off, dead jellyfish…
And look what showed up… a cruise ship… which means bye-bye internet. Good thing it’s the weekend. Dan found it to be a good opportunity to take the paddle board off of the truck and take it for a spin.
Since Dan had a few more days left on his fishing license, we all decided to explore the other side of Whittier.
If you look closely, you might be able to see the countless number of salmon swimming upstream. The end of the road for them is just past that fallen tree.
At this late stage of their lives, the salmon have really changed. The fishing here is so different than just a few days ago in Hope. The fish here have large humps and their heads have changed. They don’t look like a fish I would like to eat. Even though it was so beautiful in this spot, it was so very sad at the same time. This is the end of the line. So many fish trying to swim further upstream but there is no where to go. So many dead fish in the water and on the beach. So many live fish with missing eyeballs and pieces of flesh.
Even though it was beautiful and depressing here, it was important for the kids to make the connection to where their food comes from. So we stayed and explored.
Dan tried to see if the fish were a little different at the other end of the bay we were in but no luck.
We decided it was best to leave the fish here to do what they were supposed to do.
Ava wanted to throw the line in the water to get a feel for fishing and within a minute, she caught herself a rock. Haha.
Back at camp, Tim & Kerri joined up with us at the campground.
The Birch & Pine cook most of their meals over the open fire so we ended up doing the same. And I must say that our food that night was sooo good. A reminder to ourselves to step away from the convenience of a propane stove every now and again.
They also travel with an orange tabby and a chocolate lab.
To say this dog was obsessed with this ball would be the understatement of the year!
Hey dog. You gotta learn how to throw this ball yourself. My arms are tired!
There was lots of leftover wood, chopped down trees and pallets left behind for us to burn.
I just have to include some sneaky shots of us from Kate of Birch & Pine.
Here is an interior shot showcasing the blood sweat and tears they put into this beautiful Airstream.
Cloudy and drizzly. Empty wine bag pillow.
Beautiful Mila. Thanks for these shots, Kate!
Our most rainy day here just happened to be Ellen’s birthday. But that didn’t stop us from celebrating in the rain.
The next morning, Dan screams at me to come outside. No way dude, it’s freezing. But he insisted and thank goodness he did.
The fog and the sunshine made me gasp.
Since we were up anyways, might as well go out for donuts.
Made to order!
We also took advantage of the sun to take a stroll thru town.
Back our water/beer spot at town, we took a little break.
The store provided chalk and a sidewalk to entertain us for a bit.
Looking classy drying out some of our wet items.
We thought tonight was going to clear enough for a proper fire without sprinkles but we were wrong.
Kerri and Tim decided to kayak to town on this clear afternoon. Haha. Kayaking back in a rainstorm is something none of us will forget. Smiles all around.
Instead of having a campfire in our usual stop tonight, we decided to make on in between the Airstreams so we can sit under the awning. It was our last night with Birch & Pine we were determined to have one last fire.
The fire lasted longer than we did, I think. Sideways rain got the best of us.
The next morning, the sun was out again.
And the kids ran outside to soak up the sunshine together.
Mila walked around to take a few snaps of the campground.
And of the wildflowers we collected.
While we enjoyed our last morning together…
… Dan was in charge of fixing our clogged bathroom sink.
Um, Daddy? That’s kinda weird.
After saying our good-byes, we headed off to grab one last bite at the Swiftwater Cafe.
And visit the free city dump.
Once again, we were pleasantly surprised by another town in Alaska.
And to quote someone on our Instagram account “This is not look like the Whittier where I’m from!” Hahahaha. No, Whittier CA does not equal Whittier AK. Haha.
Thanks for reading,