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leaving anchorage

Leaving Anchorage, marks the end of the first part of my trip which has been – despite the amazing landscape, experiences, and meetings – in some ways, confused and troubled.

I started the journey as part a project that has since fallen through, for me, due to personal conflicts. It was somewhat sad and disheartening to have had eight months of planning and expectations disappear within four days of setting forth from Deadhorse and I am still reflecting on how the situation came about.

Riding out of Anchorage on the Seward Highway, the day is chilly and grey and a stiff headwind slows my progress. The mountains I flew over the day I arrived in Alaska are on my left as I cycle and I wonder, somewhat bleakly, what the future will bring but as I turn down the Portage Glacier Road down a narrow steep-sided valley the grandeur of the landscape clears my mind and lifts my spirits.

Looking down towards the Kenai Peninsula.

Looking down towards the Kenai Peninsula.

The scene is illuminated by a scattered chiaroscuro, pearly opalescent light flickers through the clouds and reflects off the water. Water is everywhere: mobile water – drifting mist in the air, swift flowing streams, waterfalls leaping down rock faces, deep, still pools and lakes; and captive water – frozen in the glaciers hanging high above the valley floor. Huge chunks of ice, a holy blue, float serenely in the lake.

Hanging glacier.

Hanging glacier.

Float ice forms.

Floating ice forms.

My plan is to catch a ferry across Prince William Sound from Whittier to Valdez and ride across the Thompson Pass on the Richardson Highway and then turn towards Tok, on the Alaska-Canada Highway. However, I can’t catch a ferry from Whittier until the next day so I find a campsite before I reach the tunnel and set up my tent.

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