Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tram at Alyeska Resort

September 11 (Anchorage, Alaska). This is the ninth anniversary of that terrible day in our country's history, with so many consequences resulting from it. It is also our last day in Alaska, as we fly home at 11PM tonight on the dreaded, and aptly named, "redeye." We head into Anchorage, and debate what to do. I think if we could have found a good "flight-seeing" tour, Mary would have liked to have done that, which amazed me, given her extreme dislike of flying. I think she enjoyed the trip in and out of McCarthy more that she let on.

Finally, we left the Anchorage Visitor Center (love the sod on the roof!) ....

and decided to drive back along Turnagain Arm on the Seward Highway, stopping at a couple of places. We had done this drive in the rain two weeks ago, and it was gorgeous. Now, we wanted to see it on a "bluebird" day.

Our first stop was at the Alyeska Resort near Girdwood. We paid for a combination tram ride - lunch ticket at the resort and rode the cablecar up 2,000 feet to a spot high on a mountain with great views of Turnagain Arm and the surrounding mountains. The lunch was mediocre, to say the least, but the views were worth the price of admission!

We passed this car as we went up and it went down:

Near and far views of the resort (which looked very nice inside) from the tram:

Spectacular mountains were all around. The mountains here get something like 900 inches of natural snow a year, and are a magnet for skiers.
There was a race that day here with a lot of participants. During 10 hours, the racers run, walk, and crawl to the top along a steep footpath, gaining 2,000 feet elevation each time. Then they take the tram down, and come back up, repeating until the 10 hours is up. They looked pretty tired in the early afternoon when we were there. I think the winner last year made something like 13 trips! Here is one gal as seen from the tram:

Panoramic view from the mountain:

View of Turnagain Arm, ski lift in foreground:

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