To catch the ferry at 10:30 on Thursday meant getting through the tunnel to Whittier no later than the 9:30 a.m. tunnel time, or to be safe, on the 8:30 a.m. tunnel time. For the folks coming from Anchorage, that meant hopping on a bus there, an hour drive away. Coming from Homer, that was a 3-4 hour drive, depending on construction road closures or traffic. So we opted to drive to Soldotna Wednesday evening, staying in a hotel and then get up early Thursday and catch the 8:30 a.m. tunnel opening.
|Heading through the 2mile-long tunnel over the railroad tracks from Bear Valley to Whittier|
|A spooky highlight of Whittier|
|A pretty stream entering the ocean|
|The wide road to nowhere|
I parked there, determined to see where the road led, on foot now. But first I noticed a waterfall off to our right. We followed the path to get a closer look. It was actually a fairly impressive waterfall and a trail climbed alongside it for a short ways.
|A large waterfall at the end of the road|
|View from what looked like it was meant to be an overlook area|
|The diminutive ferry terminal in Whittier|
Races were Saturday and Sunday evenings, which we thought was odd (all track meets are held during the day when it is warmer), but apparently were patterned after the Lower 48 where larger meets are held in the evening. This was only the third year the All-Star meet was being held. In 2010 Brian Young, a resident of Kodiak, died while descending from a climb on Denali. This meet was established in his honor. Sponsorships help make this an all-expense-paid trip for the best athletes in the state. If invited, it is paid for, though anyone with a qualifying time can compete in it.
It was a successful meet for Aurora, who won the 800 meter run and was on a sub-4-minute 4x400 meter relay, the first time that had happened in Alaska, but since the athletes are from different teams it is not an official time. She was also part of the first-place 4x800 team and got second in the 400 meter dash.
After racing Sunday evening the kids showered and got back to the ferry for the 20-hour ride back to Whittier, and from there the 4-hour drive back to Homer. These Alaska athletes have some endurance to handle all this travel!
|The ferry backing up on its return to Whittier from Kodiak|